Safety of guests, workers assured amid expanded indoor seating in NCR restos

Published October 2, 2021, 3:17 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has assured the safety of restaurant-goers in Metro Manila even as the government’s pandemic task force approved to expand dine-in capacity under the alert levels system.

Fully-vaccinated individuals in more business areas. (Veejay Villafranca / Bloomberg)

“We are confident with the cooperation of our tourism stakeholders — guests, workers and hotel and restaurant operators — to ensure the safe reopening of restaurants to a higher number of guests by strictly observing the new seating capacity,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat welcomed the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Department’s proposal to expand the seating capacity of restaurants in the National Capital Region (NCR).

According to Puyat, the proposal was backed by the IATF given the 99 percent vaccination rate among tourism workers in DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants that will ensure the safety of both guests and frontliners.

Metro Manila is still under Alert Level 4, the second highest classification in the pilot implementation of the new Alert Levels System for COVID-19 response in the NCR which has been extended until Oct. 15.

Based on the latest guidelines, indoor dine-in services have been increased to 20 percent seating capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and an additional 10 percent for tourism establishments granted with a Safety Seal by the government.

For “al fresco” or outdoor dining, seating capacity will remain at 30 percent but also with additional 10 percent if the establishment is a Safety Seal recipient.

Meanwhile, the tourism chief encouraged the public to patronize DOT-accredited establishments as their employees are already vaccinated and their operations are strictly monitored by the Department to ensure the observance of health and safety protocols.

The DOT and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently released a Joint Memorandum Circular detailing the health and safety guidelines governing the operations of indoor and outdoor dine-in services under the alert levels system.

These include the installation of a handwashing station with an adequate water supply and soap or alcohol in food establishments offering dine-in services instead of foot baths, disinfection tents, misting chambers, or sanitation booths.