With the quarantine leaving you holed up at home, you’re probably missing your favorite food from The Before Times. Deliveries and take-out are an option now, but there’s nothing quite like sitting down and eating out.
It may feel like a farfetched dream, but you might be able to dine at your favorite spot again.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking into the possibility of permitting restaurants and food establishments to restart their dine-in services in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
“There’s a good chance na ma-include ang dine-in, we just have to review the minimum health protocols,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the Senate committee of the whole virtual hearing on May 21.
Earlier, Senator Cynthia Villar urged DTI to allow food establishments to reopen dine-in services at 50% capacity so food businesses don’t go bankrupt.
According to Villar, “95% of our business are small and micro and 50% of small and micro are in food. So 'pag hindi po binuksan ang mga seat-in magde-declare silang lahat ng bankruptcy. I just want to inform you na malaki ang problema ng mga restaurant.”
Lopez said 70% of a food establishment’s revenues come from dine-in operations, but during the quarantine period, they have to make money even when customers can’t sit down and eat.
“Sa ngayon na nabubuhay sila sa take-out and deliveries,” he said.
Dine-in services are currently prohibited as many people sitting down to eat could further spread COVID-19.
“Ganito po ang situation, under GCQ ngayon po pinag-aaralan ang pag-include ng dine-in. Sa Sabado po we are visiting some fast foods [and] general na tipo ng restaurant,” he added.
Authorities will look into what new health protocols dine-in operations need to operate under GCQ, said Lopez.
“‘Pag tayo ay nakumbinisi na safe po kumain [ng dine-in] at mai-implement ang minimum health protocols. We shall allow, of course, we will propose the opening of dine-in,” Lopez said.
Lopez added that at most, food establishments would only see a limited capacity for dine-in operations.
“Tama po ‘yung sabi ninyo na kahit 50% kasi for them to have social distancing,” he said.
Main image from Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash.