IATF bans indoor dining in NCR, 4 nearby provinces for two weeks

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — All restaurants, cafes, and other food establishments in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces will not be allowed to offer indoor dining services in the next two weeks.

In a resolution released Sunday, the national COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force said food services will only be limited to delivery, take-out, and outdoor dining in the capital region and in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which will be under general community quarantine from March 22 to April 4.

READ: Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal revert to GCQ until April 4 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

While outdoor dining is permitted as the arrangement offers better ventilation, the IATF said the maximum number of allowable customers will be restricted to 50% of the venue capacity. Additional preventive measures must also be put in place, such as limiting the number of diners per table to two, with an acrylic or similar divider between them. Customers must also be seated at least one seat apart, in a diagonal configuration.

The stricter rule is meant to help slow the fast-rising spread of the coronavirus and bring down the number of new daily cases, which had breached 7,000 in the past three days. Authorities also continue to urge the public to stay at home as experts warned single-day infections may hit 11,000 by month-end and 20,000 by mid-April if the upward trend isn't reversed.