As parts of the country begin transitioning to the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), more Filipinos start returning to their regular dine-in habits.

In today’s Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser, Health OIC-Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire sat down with the leaders of some of the country’s leading food and beverage groups to discuss how the takeout, dine-in, and delivery experiences have been modified to ensure safety against the virus for both customers and employees.

“The journey to dine-in did not start this week, it started three months ago. We were already very mindful about the different hygiene and health concerns that we would have upon returning,” said Marketing Director of the Max’s Group Mark De Joya. “For everyone in the service industry, or anyone who is already doing their own business, we must be able to fully connect and comply with all of the policies.”

De Joya, along with McDonald’s Philippines CEO and President Kenneth Yang and Foodee Global Concepts President Eric Dee, explained that all restaurant brands under their respective groups have implemented strict health measures in compliance with the Department of Health’s (DOH) pandemic guidelines.

Aside from implementing physical distancing, contactless payments, strict disinfection of facilities, and consistent health monitoring of both customers and employees, each group has been working to improve the level of safety in their establishments in accordance with the Department’s minimum health standards.

For example, Foodee Global Concepts, known for the local Hawker Chan and Tim Ho Wan franchises, has rolled out electronic menus to reduce contact, and digital and paper health declaration forms that would assist in effective contact tracing.

The Max’s Group, responsible for the Max’s restaurant chain, Pancake House, Yellow Cab, and the Krispy Kreme franchises, began Dine-in 2.0 and Park n’ Dine, alternative ways to enjoy the restaurant experience without having to enter the restaurant at all.

According to De Joya, members of the service industry “are deeply appreciative of the public policies” and consider it a “national obligation to be able to comply with the guidelines.”

“It is not simply in the hands of the government to control these conditions, it’s up to us private citizens as well,” he added, explaining that every Filipino plays a vital role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Singh-Vergeire lauded the service industry in its massive support to the DOH by assuring the public that we can survive this pandemic by diligently implementing our health standards.

“Bayani rin pong maituturing ang bawat isang manggagawa sa sector na ito, dahil sa tulong nila, we remain to have a steady supply of food even during the quarantine period,” said Singh-Vergeire. “Katulad din po natin, nababahala sila tungkol sa kanilang kasiguruhan at sa kasiguruhan ng kanilang pamilya, pero alam nila na malaki ang maitutulong ng kanilang sakripisyo,” she concluded.