Diners not rushing back to restaurants yet

·2 min read

ALTHOUGH quarantine restrictions have been eased and dine-in services are now allowed, restaurants in Cebu have yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

“We are still far from pre-Covid levels. We are probably still at 20 to 25 percent,” said Brian Noel, vice president for restaurants of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC).

He emphasized the need to strengthen efforts to build up consumer confidence.

“We are hopeful that the steady decline in cases and easing of restrictions will continue to build consumer confidence,” he said.

He said 80 to 90 percent of a restaurant’s revenues used to come from dine-in sales.

With Cebu now under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), more restaurants have reopened and resumed dine-in services on top of their delivery services.

Dine-in services are allowed up to 50 percent of a restaurant’s capacity in MGCQ areas.

Noel said they were looking forward to serving more diners.

“More and more restaurants are slowly accepting dine-in and at the same time, adhering to the safety protocols,” he said.

Based on the Department of Trade and Industry guidelines, all dine-in services and transactions shall be delivered as fast and as contactless as possible.

DTI also said there should be proper ventilation in the establishment.

Proprietors of dine-in establishments are required to enhance their exhaust system, ensure better airflow inside air-conditioned restaurants or install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems.

Outdoor, or al fresco, dining is highly encouraged.

Chairs should be arranged at a distance of at least one meter on all sides. There should also be a one-meter distance on all sides in the queuing area.

Buffet service shall be allowed only when food servers are provided and all food trays have covers.

The use of loud ambient music in restaurants and fastfood chains shall be kept to a minimum to discourage loud talking, which increases the likelihood of droplet transmission.

Restaurants, as of now, still lean heavily on food delivery apps to sustain their operations and reach their stay-at-home market. (JOB)