24/7 food take out, delivery approved in Metro

    From brick to click. Online purchases have also given rise to hassle-free transactions with delivery services. (Photo by RHOY COBILLA)

    ROUND-the-clock operations of fast food establishments and food deliveries are now allowed in Metro Manila, which has reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ) status, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said yesterday.

    MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said metro mayors agreed on Wednesday night to allow the 24-hour operations of restaurants for take-out and delivery services.

    Garcia said local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila will come out with their respective executive orders allowing the same.

    Yesterday, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno allowed the 24/7 operations of all food establishments in the city to offer take-out and food delivery services.

    Moreno said Executive Order No.35 will put a balance between ensuring the livelihood of workers employed in food establishments and the health and safety of Manila residents amid the pandemic.

    “We must learn to live while there is COVID-19, and at the same time, we must learn to go back to work safely. Life and livelihood must be addressed together for us to survive this battle,” Moreno said.

    Under EO 35 and consistent with GCQ guidelines set by the national government, restaurants are also allowed to operate at 30 percent venue capacity provided that they strictly adhere to minimum public health standards at all times, such as but not limited to social distancing protocols and other safety and health regulations issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Employment.

    “Said restaurants may also be allowed to operate beyond the curfew hours of the city provided that it shall cater only to those authorized persons outside of residence as provided for under Manila City Ordinance or IATF regulations,” Moreno said.

    In Makati City, Mayor Abby Binay signed City Ordinance No. 2020-165 which set city guidelines on dine-in operations of food establishments under a state of calamity, public health emergency or similar emergency declarations.

    Binay said the ordinance that will guide owners and operators of restaurants and fast food businesses, regardless of size, including canteens, food courts, food parks and other eateries providing on-premises dining or dine-in services on how they can operate during times of special health declarations.

    “We enjoin all the owners of food businesses providing dine-in services to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations provided in the ordinance during times of crisis, such as this pandemic,” Binay said.

    Under the ordinance, dine-in services will depend on the city’s quarantine status: under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), it is strictly prohibited; under modified ECQ, a maximum of 30 percent of dine-in services will be allowed; general community quarantine (GCQ), maximum of 50 percent; and modified GCQ, maximum of 75 percent.

    Violators face a range of penalties: temporary closure for three days and a fine of P5,000 on the first offense; P5,000 and temporary closure for one month on the second offense; and closure for a period of not more than a year and P5,000 or imprisonment for not more than a year, or both at the discretion of the court, on the third and succeeding offenses.

    Bars are not allowed to operate during times of emergency. The consumption of liquor “in bulk”, “in pitchers”, “in buckets”, or “in cases” shall also not be allowed.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) was set to tackle during its meeting yesterday the church’s appeal for a more relaxed regulation on religious gatherings.

    Under the GCQ, only up to 10 persons are allowed in churches and religious gatherings.

    Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo has expressed dismay over the 10 person limit in churches and has filed an appeal. – With Ashzel Hachero and Noel Talacay