The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will look into whether restaurants could be allowed to have dine-in customers in areas under general community quarantine, subject to health protocols and reduced seating, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Lopez was responding to Sen. Cynthia Villar who said many restaurants were in trouble because they were not allowed to accept sit-down customers.

The senator cited her family-owned malls where restaurants, she said, are struggling because this restriction.

70 percent of revenue

The DTI official acknowledged that 70 percent of restaurants’ revenue comes from dine-in customers instead of deliveries and takeaway orders, the only options allowed under lockdown.

Lopez said DTI officials would visit on Saturday a fast-food place and another restaurant to check on their implementation of health protocols.

“If we are convinced that it is safe to eat [there] and that minimum health protocols are being implemented, we shall allow, we will propose, we will endorse the opening of dine in, even at 50-percent [capacity],” he said.

The reduced capacity would allow for physical distancing, a protocol meant to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Lopez said.


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