Post-Quarantine Series: DOT Guidelines for Dining Out in the New Normal

As travel prohibitions begin to ease and tourism is slowly opening up again in the country, the Department of Tourism released yet another guideline on June 9 which addresses how restaurants and other dining establishments, including on-site food facilities in hotels, clubs, and resorts, will operate in the new normal.

Here’s a quick summary of what you can expect when dining out moving forward.

Policies inside premises

  • Restaurants must be disinfected regularly, including restrooms, counters, and dining areas.
  • Restaurants are only allowed to accommodate 50 percent of their total seating capacity.
  • A distance of at least one meter must be observed between banquet tables. 
  • Face-to-face seating is not allowed, except if there are dividers or sneeze guards in between.
  • Printed menus are not advised. Legible menus should instead be displayed on counters. 
  • “Grab-and-go stations” must be provided by restaurants for customers with takeout orders.
  • Buffet and self-service stations are no longer allowed. 
  • Karaoke and on-site entertainment, including kids’ area and play machines, are not allowed.

Customer policy

  • Customers must disinfect footwear using disinfectant mats (to be provided by the restaurant) prior to entering a restaurant.
  • Social distancing of one meter between each customer must be observed.
  • Customers are required to wear masks at all times except when drinking and eating.
  • Customers without masks will not be permitted entry to a restaurant.
  • Customers are required to undergo temperature checks prior to entering. Those exhibiting flu-like symptoms or have fever shall not be permitted entry.
  • Customers must fill out a health declaration form prior to entering, as required by the DOH. Likewise, they are required to give their full name and contact details for contact tracing. 

Service policy

  • Reusable utensils and food implements for customers are not allowed. All items for dining, including condiments, utensils, and napkins must be single-use and sealed inside clean, biodegradable packaging.
  • DOT recommends paying as you order.
  • Paperless transactions (credit cards, Paymaya, GCash) are advised. Customers who pay in cash must be given a cash tray by the restaurant.

Staff policy

  • All employees must undergo temperature checks and must fill out a Health Declaration Form before starting their shift. 
  • Staff must observe one-meter distance between each other at all times.
  • Staff, including those involved in food prep and cooking, are discouraged from touching food with bare hands.
  • Staff are required to wash their hands with soap and water every 20 minutes. Restaurants must set up alarms every 20 minutes to remind staff to wash their hands.
  • Employees are required to wear food safety equipment while on duty. This will be provided by resto owners and must include gloves, aprons, hairnets or haircaps, shoe covers, face masks,and  face shields.

You can check out DOT’s full guidelines for DOT-accredited restaurants here.

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