Restaurant Seating Capacity Under ‘New Normal’ Set at 50%

Jun 11, 2020

Source: Philippine News Agency, June 10, 2020

READY FOR ‘NEW NORMAL’. A restaurant inside a mall in Manila has placed floor markers indicating one-way entrance and exit points inside the establishment. The maximum seating capacity at restaurants has been reduced to 50 percent under the “new normal”. (Photo courtesy of NTF vs. Covid-19)

MANILA – The maximum seating capacity at restaurants has been reduced to 50 percent under the “new normal”.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued memorandum circular 2020-004, which outlined the protocols for DOT-accredited restaurants in their operations covering the areas of management, set-up, employees, and customers.

Under the memorandum circular, restaurants are required to monitor the health status of its employees as well as to provide personal food safety apparel and training, and annual check-ups.

The maximum customer capacity will be reduced to 50 percent of the restaurant’s seating or venue capacity.
The guidelines also contain a comprehensive list of food safety and conduct standards, and disinfection and sanitation protocols for different areas, furniture, wares, and surfaces within the restaurant, which employees are expected to follow.

Restaurant owners are encouraged to install an alarm system that will remind employees to practice proper handwashing every 20 minutes, before and after meals, before wearing gloves, touching food or food-contact surfaces, and other specific actions.

In the absence of soap and water, 70 percent solution alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided.
Customers must also wear masks, accomplish health declaration forms, undergo temperature checks, and practice proper handwashing and physical distancing upon entry to or when inside the restaurant premises.

They will be required to provide their names and contact details in a contract tracing log-sheet supplied by the establishment.

The guidelines include the establishment of pick-up or take-away zones for customers, and improvements to the establishment’s table and seating arrangement, customer queueing, order-taking, and payment systems.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat urged restaurants to optimize technology in shifting to contactless transactions when taking orders or receiving payments from customers.

“The DOT remains committed to its ‘slow but sure’ approach in reopening the tourism industry amidst our current public health concern. To make this happen, we expect strict compliance from our partners of the protocols. The only way we can jumpstart tourism is to regain the confidence of our visitors,” she said.

Meanwhile, the operation of buffets and salad bars will remain prohibited.

In-house play areas, libraries, karaoke machines, and ancillary leisure facilities, and similar amenities will temporarily be suspended.

The guidelines were issued after the adoption by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases of the joint recommendations of the DOT and the Department of Trade and Industry on health and safety protocols for dine-in operations of restaurants. (DOT PR).

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