Shorter curfew hours pushed to allow restos, food deliveries longer operating time


    THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) wants local government units (LGUs) to shorten their curfew hours to allow food establishments and their delivery services to extend their operating hours in line with government efforts to revive the economy which was sidetracked by lockdown strategies to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    The DTI on July 31 issued Memorandum Circular No. 20-44 (MC 20-44) allowing all food and retail businesses “maximum operating hours of up to 11 p.m. and food delivery services of up to 1 a.m.”

    “Thus, local government units (LGUs) are enjoined to adjust curfew hours accordingly to enhance income opportunities for workers and business owners,” the memorandum read.

    Curfew hours at present is between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., while most establishments operate up to 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. only.

    On authority of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the DTI has re-categorize some industries and business activities belonging to Category IV to Category III to enable them to operate at a limited capacity in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting August 1 and to issue the appropriate guidelines.

    Aside from extending the operating hours of food establishments and deliveries, MC 20-44 likewise allowed gyms, fitness centers, and sports facilities in GCQ areas to partial reopen up to 30 percent of their capacities on the condition that strict health and safety protocols are observed at all times.

    The memorandum said operations are allowed for gyms, fitness centers, and sports facilities but “limited to individual workouts only. Group sessions composed of two or more persons shall be strictly prohibited.”

    These fitness businesses and sports facilities are also already allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas.

    The DTI memorandum also said that barbershops and salons operating in areas under GCQ are now allowed to offer “all hair, nail, and skin care services, except full body massage” but subject to the current 50 percent operational capacity and strict compliance with health protocols on hand sanitation, use of face masks and face shields, gloves, and sterilized equipment. Barbershops and salons are allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity in MGCQ areas.

    Other industries re-categorized and now allowed to operate at a 30 percent capacity in GCQ areas are testing and tutorial centers, review centers, internet cafes, establishments offering personal grooming and aesthetic services, pet grooming, and drive-in cinemas. These establishments are allowed to operate at a 50 percent capacity in MGCQ areas.

    Those remaining in Category IV and allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in MGCQ areas include language, driving, dance/acting/voice schools; entertainment industries, including theaters and traditional cinemas; libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers; tourist destinations like water parks and beach resorts; full body massage parlors; tattoo and body piercing shops; and live events like conventions, exhibitions and business events.

    However, cockfighting and the operation of cockpits, beer houses and similar establishments primarily serving alcoholic drinks, as well as kid amusement facilities like playrooms and rides remain prohibited regardless of the level or form of community quarantine that is in effect in an area.