No Buffets + Self-Service Stations Allowed In Restaurants, According To DOT

The Department of Tourism released the guidelines for accredited restaurants.
by Patricia Baes for   |  Jun 11, 2020
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With restaurants slowly being allowed to open, you’re probably wondering what dining in the new normal will be like. On June 9, the Department of Tourism released a set of guidelines for Department of Tourism (DOT)-accredited restaurants and restaurants in DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (such as hotels and resorts), some of which include the requiring of face masks and the prohibition of buffets and self-service stations.


Here’s a peek at what you can expect from these restaurants by the time they reopen:

Restaurant owners

  • Restaurant owners must ensure their employees fill out a Health Declaration Form prior to starting their duty.
  • Restaurant owners have to monitor the body temperature of their employees every time they report to work.
  • Restaurant owners must also provide their employees with food safety apparel, which includes hairnets or haircaps, face masks, face shields, gloves, aprons, and shoe covers.
  • Restaurant owners should make sure all employees undergo an annual health checkup.
  • Restaurant owners should ensure their employees are trained and regularly updated on health concerns by installing a safety bulletin board.
  • Restaurant owners have to ensure the restaurant premises are properly disinfected and sanitized frequently.

The restaurant staff

  • Employees must ensure proper hygiene and good grooming.
  • Employees should avoid touching ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands.
  • Employees are to observe physical distancing of at least one meter from one another while working.
  • Employees shall wear food safety apparel while on duty.
  • Client-faving staff, such as waiters, cashiers, and bussers are to wash their hands with soap and water at least every 20 minutes.

The restaurant premises

  • Establishments can only seat up to 50% of the maximum seating or venue capacity.
  • Disinfectant mats shall be placed at the entrance of the restaurant.
  • The seats should be arranged such that it allows customers to stay one meter apart.
  • The distance between the backs of each chair should also be more than one meter apart.
  • Face-to-face seating is only allowed if there are transparent dividers—such as acrylic plastic, plexiglass, or sneeze guards—between them.
  • "As far as practicable," handheld menus are to be replaced with a menu to be displayed on the counter or other visible areas.
  • Visible signs must be installed reminding people to wash their hands or to disinfect with alcohol upon entering and leaving the restaurant.
  • There shall be designated zones for pickup and takeaway, with clearly demarcated queue lines that allow for physical distancing between guests.
  • Alarm systems may be installed to remind employees to wash their hands rigorously every 20 minutes.
  • Self-service and condiment stations, buffets, salad bars, and other leisure facilities such as karaoke machines and in-house play areas are banned.


  • Customers not wearing masks won’t be allowed inside the restaurants. These masks are to be worn at all times, except when eating and drinking.
  • Before entering, customers have to get their body temperature checked. Those with a fever or with flu-like symptoms won’t be allowed to enter.
  • Customers are to fill up a health declaration form before entering.
  • Customers are to sanitize their footwear using sanitizing mats and drying pads installed at the entrance.
  • Customers are to provide their name and contact details in a contact-tracing log sheet to be provided by the restaurant.

Food service

  • Single-use items, such as napkins, utensils, and condiments, are to be given to the customers wrapped in biodegradable packaging.
  • Cashless payment, done via money transfer applications such as GCash, is encouraged, though employees can also hand and receive cash through a small tray.
  • It is also advised that restaurants adopt a pay-as-you-order policy.

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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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