Trade dep’t backs 20% restaurant capacity for vaccinated diners


TRADE SECRETARY Ramon M. Lopez is recommending 20% capacity for restaurants and personal care shops for vaccinated customers.

“Just 20% capacity. For vaccinated workers and customers,” he told reporters in a Viber message Sunday.

Mr. Lopez has said that he wants government to allow those who are inoculated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be allowed into dine-in restaurants and personal care shops during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

He added museums and exhibits to the list, after a proposal from the Tourism department.

Such businesses are not allowed to run on-site operations during MECQ, which in Metro Manila has been extended until Sept. 7.

“Once approved, this will be part of new protocol,” he said, referring to guidelines from the interagency task force on the coronavirus.

Mr. Lopez has said that the move would incentivize vaccination and bring back jobs as the sectors reopen. Dine-in restaurants account for around a million jobs, while personal care services employ 200,000, he said.

Public transportation and entry to malls, where essential shops like supermarkets are allowed to operate, are still allowed regardless of vaccination status.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated would also be allowed into these shops when restrictions are eased.

“If it’s not lockdown, all vaccine status allowed subject to operating capacity,” Mr. Lopez said. —

Jenina P. Ibañez