RESTAURANTS and fast food establishments operating in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), including Metro Manila, can resume dine-in operations starting June 15 but only up to 30 percent capacity, the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) yesterday said.
The IATF, through Resolution No. 45, said the dine-in operations would be subject to compliance with health protocols set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH) and guidelines crafted by the local government units (LGUs).
It reiterated that social distancing protocols as recommended by the DTI should be strictly complied with, with tables spaced at 1.5 meters apart. Restaurants should likewise install acrylic or clear barriers in between customers and require diners to wear masks. Establishments should likewise be regularly disinfected.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said a balance between the economy and livelihood of the people and the general health and welfare of the public was among the considerations that led to the approval of the partial opening of dine-in services.
Roque noted that at least 11,000 people in Metro Manila alone are employed in restaurants and fastfood chains.
“Balanse po iyan. Talaga naman pong economic iyan, dahil hindi bababa sa–kung hindi ako nagkakamali, 11,000 employees in Metro Manila alone ang nag-tatrabaho sa mga restaurants (It’s a balance, it’s economic because if I am not mistaken, about 11,000 employees in Metro Manila alone works in restaurants),” he said.
Aside from the dine-in operations, Roque said the IATF has also recognized government’s intensified contract tracing efforts and will maximize the use of the StaySafe.PH application by approving the migration of all data collected through the said application to the government’s COVID-KAYA data base. He said government is also hiring 50,000 contract tracers by July.
Housing Settlement and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario yesterday said workers with housing loans with government agencies will be given further relief after the agency agreed to allow them to pay their backlog of two to three months of amortizations only after they have completed the payment of their total loan.
Del Rosario said this means that if a government housing loan of a person is good for 10 years, they would only pay the two to three months that they missed to pay during the lockdown after they completed their payment on the 10th year.
Del Rosario admitted the government stands to lose P31 billion from the moratorium in housing loan payments.
In the event that the owner of the loan dies during the lockdown, Del Rosario said the government loan will already be considered paid.
The IATF has earlier issued Joint resolution 44 and approved the country’s participation in the clinical trial by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, which is now on phase three of their clinical tests for COVID-19 vaccine.
Apart from Sinovac, the IATF had also approved five other clinical trials for vaccines against the coronavirus disease that had been recommended by the Department of Science and Technology.
These include collaborations with Adimmune Corporation, the Academia Sinica, the Chinese Academy of Science – Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health and SinoPharm Group – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute.