THE government has now allowed longer operating hours for dine-in food establishments, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases approved dine-in services in fast food chains and restaurants until 9 p.m. during a meeting on Monday.
He said the IATF reached the decision after community quarantine curfew hours were shortened to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The government previously set an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
“Hinabaan pa po ang pagkain sa mga restaurant hanggang 9 o’clock ng evening (Dining in restaurants is allowed until 9 o’clock in the evening),” Roque said during a virtual press briefing.
On June 15, restaurants in areas under the general community quarantine were allowed to reopen at 30-percent capacity for dine-in customers.
Roque said that the decision was made while balancing the need to protect the public from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and allowing the estimated 11,000 people working in food establishments, including their supply chain, to make a living.
“Meron pong very strict health standards na dapat gawin ng mga restaurants para naman ma-manage yung danger ng pagkalat ng sakit (There are very strict health standards that restaurants must follow to manage the danger of the spread of the disease),” Roque said.
“So habang sinusunod ‘yang protocols na ‘yan, tingin natin eh bigyan naman natin ng hanapbuhay yung mga restaurants at yung mga nagta-trabaho sa mga restaurants (So while they are following those health protocols, we are giving restaurants and their workers the chance to make a living),” he added.
Dine-in services have been suspended since March 15 because of the threat of Covid-19.
Until recently, only take-out and delivery services were allowed in food establishments, and dine-in was allowed at 50 percent capacity for areas under the modified general community quarantine.