Taguig allows food bazaars to operate

The Taguig City government has now allowed food bazaars to operate under the prevailing heightened General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

In a bulletin, the Taguig Safe City Task Force said food bazaars will be allowed after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a clarification regarding the operations of Mercato Centrale outdoor food market at Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

The Mercato Centrale outdoor food market (Facebook/Mercato Centrale / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a letter to Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano dated May 20, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez said, “The DTI considers the operations of Mercato as a food retail establishment that offers al fresco or outdoor dining.”

"Hence, I respectfully request that Mercato and similar establishments (e.g. kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries) be classified as such and not as food bazaars under Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions venues, as indicated in the protocols of the Taguig Safe City Task Force, with on-site capacities aligned with the IATF and DTI policies,” the secretary said.

The Taguig Safe City Task Force said based on Lopez’s statement, it “will now align its guidelines in regulating food bazaars and other similar events and establishments as stated.”

“Therefore, we would like to clarify to all owners of food preparation establishments, organizers of food bazaars and other similar establishments, that food bazaars are considered as a food retail establishment that are allowed to operate in the City of Taguig during HGCQ,” it said.

The IATF had earlier issued a resolution placing the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area, consisting of the NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under GCQ from May 15 to 31.

According to the task force, it previously denied event requests for food bazaars as it considered these “as having the same nature as with MICE events, which are still prohibited during HGCQ” based on DTI guidelines.

“Outdoor or al fresco dining is allowed only for existing food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants and eateries. Food bazaars, however, are ambulant or set up in a specific area only for a limited period of time,” it added.

It said that “food bazaars tend to encourage family gatherings, where not all customers are Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), including minors and seniors above sixty five (65) years old.”