Opening restaurants will revive economy

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    ‘The opening of restaurants, even if only for 30 percent capacity, indicates the spirit of resilience and willingness to take risks by small, medium and big entrepreneurs.’

    THE public feels that things are really on their way to normalcy — even of the “new” type — when the restaurants and fast food outlets are already taking in dine-in customers. And they can only do so if the coronavirus outbreak has been somewhat contained in one particular city or town.

    The opening of restaurants, even if only for 30 percent capacity, indicates the spirit of resilience and willingness to take risks by small, medium and big entrepreneurs.

    This inspired the tandem of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat to work for the increased operational capacity of restaurants in Metro Manila should the general community quarantine (GCQ) policy remain in effect beyond July 15.

    Lopez, Puyat, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos just completed an inspection of selected hotels and dine-in restaurants in the Ortigas area to prepare this important central business district for the full opening of the economy.

    The group said such visits were done to prepare the establishments when the metropolis finally transitions to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) which is as close to normal any urban or rural locality can get these days.

    Secretary Lopez said depending on the compliance by these establishments, as well as the COVID-19 situation and how the nation’s hospitals are able to cope with it, they will work for an increased capacity for the restaurants’ dine-in service.

    “All of us underwent the standard protocols prescribed in the guidelines, like the filling out of health declaration forms and the temperature checks before entering the establishments.

    I commend the collective efforts of our stakeholders to abide by the prescribed health and safety guidelines. It is important for us to sustain these efforts as they will influence how we rebuild consumer trust and regain tourist confidence in the Philippines,” said Romulo-Puyat.

    The DOT keeps an eye on hotels so that they observe minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health. These standards cover the kitchen, food and beverage service, sanitation and disinfection, guest handling, reception and concierge, rooms, housekeeping, public areas and transportation.

    The tourist department also issued separate guidelines for dine-in operations of accredited restaurants following the adoption of the joint recommendation of the DOT and DTI by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    We recognize that it is hard work for the government to supervise the private sector in surviving the new normal, and the businessmen will also have to sacrifice to comply. It is a difficult task for both the business owner and the regulator, but it is an important task that has to be done.