The Quezon City government has been conducting surprise inspections of various dining places and are currently preparing restaurant owners for an increase in seating capacity in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting July 21 as greenlighted by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Representatives from the Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD), QC Tourism Department (QCTD), Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), and the QC Health Department (QCHD) have been doing weekly spot inspections in various restaurants in the city since June 30 to ensure compliance to the dine-in guidelines issued by the national and local governments.
“Dine-in restaurants, fast-food chains, and other food businesses are regularly monitored by our team to ensure they are abiding by the guidelines that will help protect their customers and staff,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
“As we allow the reopening of these establishments, it is important that we are still on guard against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” Belmonte added.
Beginning July 21, food establishments and restaurants in GCQ areas will be allowed to increase their seating capacity to 50 percent, as announced by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
From June 30 to July 15, 37 restaurants and food establishments have been visited by the team.
It is also set to subject 23 establishments for re-inspection after they were initially declared non-compliant to some protocols such as the use of thermal scanners, logbooks for contact tracing, and markers and signages for physical distancing, among others.
Tourism Department Action Officer Tetta Tirona explained that businesses are all ready to follow guidelines but have to be constantly reminded of the specifics.
“Most restaurants are compliant even during the first week the memo came out. The food establishments we have visited have expressed their willingness to cooperate. That is why these surprise inspections are necessary to keep them on their toes,” Tirona said.
“As we increase seating capacity, the more we need to ensure these protocols are in place and properly implemented since more people will be eating together inside an establishment,” Tirona added.
BPLD Head Margie Santos stressed that establishments caught violating the guidelines may be charged under Sec. 9 of Republic Act 11332 which penalizes the non-cooperation of persons or entities affected by a health event of public concern.
Violations may also result in the revocation of business permits as mentioned in the city’s GCQ guidelines.
“We understand the need to jumpstart our economy so we want to keep our restaurants and other establishments open. But we won’t allow them to cause harm to our residents, especially during this pandemic,” Santos said.