DTI cites Cebu malls’ for health, safety standards

June 10, 2020

CEBU CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas has assured that all the malls that have resumed operations in Cebu have complied with the minimum safety and health standards under the general community quarantine.

Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberte, DTI-7 regional director, said she conducted a “mall tour” to determine the readiness of operators in accepting customers under the new normal and in the light of the government’s effort to combat coronavirus disease 2019.

“They are already compliant. But I cannot assure you that when we transition to modified GCQ, they (mall operators) can manage easily with the foot traffic,” Caberte said during the virtual presser of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.

She said markings for physical distancing and foot traffic directions are already visible in malls, apart from advisories to always wear face masks while inside the premises.

Caberte said the RIATF has requested the National Police to assign uniformed personnel inside malls to strictly enforce safety and health standards.

Not all malls and establishments in Cebu have resumed operations when the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Cebu province under GCQ since May 15, she said.

“They are readying. Maybe they are not that sure that they have complied with the standards (for reopening of businesses), that’s why they have not opened yet,” Caberte said.

Apart from malls, the DTI-7 is also closely monitoring the preparations for reopening of barbershops and dine-in restaurants.

Some barbershops that have reopened starting last June 1 have complied with safety standards like limiting their services to haircut and refraining from extending some services such as shampooing their customers' hair.

Barbers are obliged to wear face masks and protective gears in attending to their customers, she said.

Also, dine-in restaurants that are now preparing for the transition to MGCQ would be forced to implement the “no mask, no entry policy” and physical distancing protocols while inside the establishments, she said.

The restaurant, Caberte said, would only be allowed to cater to the maximum allowable number of customers and limited customer-personnel interaction as new enforced protocols under the new normal.

The DTI-7 chief said restaurants are required to place a footbath with disinfectant outside their establishment unless the mall where the eatery is situated places one at the main entrance.

Only customers whose body temperature does not exceed 37.5 degrees Celsius would be allowed entry in restaurants, she also said.

Restaurant personnel would properly sanitize tables and chairs every after use of customers, Caberte said, adding that tables and chairs should maintain a distance of at least one meter apart on all sides.

She said that face-to-face sitting arrangement would only be allowed if there are proper dividers.

Other measures like visible markings for queue, proper ventilation, food menu per table, contactless order-taking, plastic cover for furniture made of porous materials, among others should be put in place, she added.

Disinfection of high-risk areas such as order and bar counters every 30 minutes must also be implemented, she said.

Restaurant owners are also directed to follow certain health and safety protocols like disallowing personnel who would manifest Covid-19 symptoms or with exposure to coronavirus patients from reporting to work, Caberte said.