Under the new regulations approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force, restaurants are not allowed to offer dine-in services, only outdoor or al-fresco set up to ensure proper ventilation up to April 4, Easter Sunday.
Lopez said that dine-in accounts for 70 to 80 percent of a restaurant operation. Thus, those with no outdoor set-up are expected to suffer 100 percent negative impact. But restaurants with outdoor setup may only suffer a 50 percent reduction in capacity.
Since the Philippines is a tropical country, very few restaurants have outdoor setup. But, Lopez said that Carinderyas or the small restaurant establishments, which are mostly outdoor as they don’t normally operate in a closed and airconditioned spaces, will be spared from the new regulations.
Lopez also downplayed the unemployment impact on the suspension of some economic activities until April 4. He said that since the suspended economic activities are high-risk the job losses impact would be minimal.
The National Economic Development Authority already estimated that 3.2 million workers would be affected with the suspension of some economic activities that include cockfight and cockpit operations, driving schools, entertainment arcades, traditional cinemas, museums, among others.
In addition, Lopez also noted that the surge in COVID cases cannot be blamed to dine-in restaurant operations because this sector was already opened in August last year, but there was no increase in infection. The DTI impact assessment also showed high compliance in restaurants and the recently reopened establishments.
In fact, the cases have been going down until February this year when people started to relax and hold family gatherings and meet-ups in “secrets” and not observed the safety protocols during their parties.
He also blamed poor compliance to health protocols as “lockdown fatigue” started to set in among Filipinos after a year of quarantine.
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