Restaurants with outdoor dining areas are allowed in places under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) announced Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.
In a text message to reporters on Sunday evening when MECQ was declared, Secretary Lopez said food establishments with alfresco dining services are only allowed up to 50% capacity with diagonal seating arrangements and acrylic dividers are required on tables.
However, indoor dining is still not permitted in areas under MECQ. Restaurants can continue to operate their take-out and delivery services.
From April 12 to 30, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus as well as Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra are now under MECQ.
Earlier, the DTI chief said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) might be sensitive in allowing indoor dine-in due to the highly contagious new variants of Covid-19.
“The IATF recommended to the President to shift to MECQ after two weeks of ECQ to restore more jobs and livelihood for the people,” Lopez said, further adding that the government continues to ramp up its health care capacity.
“But this comes with the continuing priority to increase the health care capacity such as ICU (intensive care unit) rooms and isolation units and contact tracing capabilities to lower the number of new cases per day,” he added.
Secretary Lopez also urged Filipinos to strictly abide to minimum health protocols and avoid non-essential gatherings to decrease the number of new daily Covid-19 cases.