MANILA, Philippines — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is open to allow restaurants in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to offer dine-in services in a higher capacity.

The IATF earlier approved the gradual resumption of dine-in services in GCQ areas but only 30 percent of the total capacity of restaurants, fast-food outlets, kiosks, and canteens are allowed for dine-in operations.

In an interview with dzMM’s Teleradyo, Lopez was asked if restaurants could be allowed dine-in operations at a capacity higher than 30 percent.

“Yun din ang isang iko-consider natin, na mapataas yung level ng operating capacity para mas madami pang makatrabaho at saka mas maraming ma-allow din na makapasok sa loob for a better revenue,” Lopez, a member of the IATF, said.

(We would also consider that, to increase the level of operating capacity so that more employees can get back to work and more customers can be accommodated inside for better revenue).

“So, open po tayo dun. I-take up po namin lalo na ngayong nag-GCQ pa rin ang Metro Manila,” he added.

(So, we are open to that. We will take that up, especially since Metro Manila is still under GCQ).

President Rodrigo Duterte extended the GCQ in Metro Manila for two more weeks starting July 1. Metro Manila is considered by the Department of Health as the COVID-19 epicenter in the country.

Further, Lopez said the IATF could also look into allowing office work for travel agencies in order for them to settle the refund requests of their customers.

“Kaya naman talaga sila nasara dahil wala pa namang travel. Pero kung may ganyang request [to reopen office work], again, IATF will be open to consider. We listen to the concern. Kung titignan natin, maraming sector [ang] na-open naman na natin, ilan na lang yung naiwan,” the trade chief said.

(The reason why they closed was that travel was not allowed. But if there’s a request like that, again, IATF will consider. We listen to the concern. We have opened up a lot of sectors, only a few have yet to be allowed to reopen).

“Pretty soon magbubukas din naman ‘yan pag nag-modified GCQ, then pwede namang i-consider din yan to be allowed. Of course, ite-take up natin sa IATF saka sa [Department of Tourism] rin, under sakanila yan. Tayo naman po ang general direction ay talagang to reopen at mabalik na yung mga trabaho in a safe manner,” he added.

(Pretty soon they will open once we are placed under the modified GCQ, then we can consider that to be allowed. Of course, we will take that up with the IATF as well as with the Department of Tourism, since it’s in their jurisdiction. For us, our general direction is to really reopen and bring back jobs in a safe manner).

/MUF


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