DTI orders temporary closure of recreation venues, 50 percent limit to restaurant operations
MANILA, Philippines—After making several calls to reopen the economy, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) late on Friday (March 19) ordered the temporary closure of recreational facilities, like cinemas, and limiting restaurants to only half of capacity in areas on general community quarantine (GCQ) status.
The DTI released an advisory on Friday night which it said would be implemented immediately in areas on GCQ until April 4. The circular said the order was meant to “address the rising cases of COVID-19.”
DTI advisory No. 21-03 suspended the operations of the following businesses:
- Driving schools,
- Entertainment, amusement and recreational facilities
- Libraries and cultural centers
- Limited social events and tourist attractions
Essential business gatherings were also ordered to reduce their venue capacity to 30 percent, while dine-in restaurants, coffee shops and personal care service shops were ordered to reduce operating capacity to a maximum of 50 percent.
“The public is advised to avoid crowded places and limit going out, unless necessary,” read the advisory, which was signed by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez. Lopez is currently infected again with SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after being first infected last December.
The DTI advisory also reminded business establishments to ensure that ventilation systems of indoor facilities were in compliance with guidelines set by the Department of Labor and Employment.
It also said all cockfighting and cockpit operations would remain suspended. Those which had been allowed to reopen in areas on modified GCQ were also suspended until April 4.
Lopez first announced the order to temporarily close cinemas and other recently reopened businesses on Thursday (March 18) but details were sketchy. Lopez disclosed he had been infected again on Thursday morning.
It was not clear why it took the DTI an entire day to issue the advisory, which could catch restaurants and coffee shops by surprise by the order for them to immediately shift to 50 percent operating capacity again.
Nevertheless, the late release of the circular mirrored the chaos that followed the start of the lockdown in 2020, as the government issued ever changing quarantine measures often at the last minute, at the expense of giving stakeholders little to no time to prepare and adjust.
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