Mon Lopez: Indoor dining may remain closed amid coronavirus surge

With COVID-19 cases surging, there’s a possibility that indoor dining won’t reopen anytime soon as health officials zero in on how to stem the spread of the virus.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is not too keen on reopening indoor economic activities due to new variants of COVID-19.

Indoor dining poses significant public health risks than other retail activities, even with social distancing.

“So if we really reopen, the indoor restaurants might be kept closed and only the outdoor activities will be allowed,” Lopez said in a television interview.

From nearly 2,000 daily cases at the start of the year, the number has even breached the 15,000-mark.

“To us, this is already the all-time big-time lockdown. We also say that we cannot continue in ECQ for a long time. What we are looking at is a gradual movement, the reopening to (the) next level of sectors.”

He said the current situation has hit entrepreneurs in tourism and food establishments, particularly indoor dine-in restaurants.

“With the new restrictions, there are many businesses that will remain closed for the meantime, or will really slow down their operations,” he said.

Lopez said closed businesses at the onset of the pandemic reached 38 percent.(PNA)

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