Restaurant dine-in operations can now resume in MGCQ areas, but no buffets

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2) — The government has allowed the resumption of limited dine-in operations of restaurants in areas under modified general community quarantine.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced this on Tuesday, but stressed that restaurants and fast-food chains in Metro Manila and other areas under general community quarantine are still limited to take-out and delivery options.

"Naghihintay pa po tayo kung kailan magkakaroon ng dine-in sa GCQ areas (we're still waiting for when dine-in operations can resume in GCQ areas)," Roque said. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the policy-making body in the government's COVID-19 response, makes such decisions.

Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Zamboanga City, Davao City and several cities and provinces in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Central Visayas are under GCQ while a more relaxed MGCQ is in place in the rest of the country.

Should a restaurant start accepting dine-in customers, it should follow the guidelines set by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Dine-in operations should be at 50 percent capacity only.

Customers should be escorted to their table, which should have a corresponding number. There should be a menu for each table, and social distancing must be in place when customers place their orders.

Restaurants are prohibited from offering buffet, and self-service areas for food bars, condiments and utensils remain banned.

There should be no play areas.

The government is also ordering a contactless payment transaction, wherein a customer should place the money on a small tray instead of handing it to the cashier. Alternative modes of payment are encouraged.

Stores are also ordered to conduct regular sanitation and have separate sinks for the handwashing of kitchen staff and customers.

Restaurants and fast food stores have ceased accepting dine-in customers since March when strict quarantine measures were enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. The government is easing these restrictions as officials cite the need to reopen the economy.