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Sonya’s Garden, other Cavite restaurants prepare to reopen for dine-in

Dennis Abrina
Several restaurants and bed and breakfast hotels are setting new rules – less seats, table markings, and wearing of face masks – before reopening for dine-in on June 16

SONYA'S. Restaurants in Cavite will reopen for dine-in starting June 16, 2020 as the modified general community quarantine takes place. Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

CAVITE, Philippines – Restaurants here have begun preparations for dine-in operations days before the entire province is anticipated to be placed under modified general community quarantine (MCGQ) starting Tuesday, June 16.

Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic”  Remulla Jr said in interview that all the restaurants in the  province’s 7 cities and 16 towns have put in place precautionary measures following the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In Alfonso town, 7 restaurants and several bed and breakfast inns and resorts are putting markings on dining tables, have readied thermal scanners upon entry, and have sanitizers, alcohol, and foot baths at the entrance.

Under MGCQ, restaurants in the area are allowed to open for business at 50% seating capacity. Aside from physical distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks, walk-in customers must wash their hands before and after meals.

Own rules and methods

Sonya’s Secret Garden in Barangay Buck Estate uses calamansi juice as hand sanitizer, instead of alcohol. The establishment also uses baking soda and salt instead of shampoo, and apple cider vinegar as a disinfectant and for handwashing.

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

“Here in Sonya’s Garden, from our 3 dining venues, we will use the biggest venue, which has a capacity of 400 people before,” Robert Hernandez, head of restaurant operations, said in an interview.

“But now we trimmed it to 200 guests. For a more spacious dining area, we arranged the table setting at one-meter distance each,” he added. 

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

“Our food will be served buffet style to lessen contact with restaurant crew. Payment system will be via online transactions. We will release our guidelines on how to pay and make reservations,” Hernandez said.

According to Sonya’s Secret Garden owner Sonya Garcia, her garden has been designed to keep people apart. 

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

“You don’t bump into each other when you take a stroll and cross in the garden, that’s what’s unique in this establishment,” Garcia said.

“All of our harvest in the farm is healthy and fresh. When you’re in the city, it’s pure of toxins.  The coronavirus illness is respiratory, so you can’t breathe. But if you are here in the farm, there are lots of trees, the air is purified – more than enough to have oxygen,” she added. 

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Sonya’s Garden is famous for its secret salad dressing, organic salads, homemade garlic bread, and adobong pusit.

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Other restaurants in the area will adopt an open dining (no aircon) setup, while putting all precautionary measures in strategic areas like the main doors, toilets, and dining areas.

Tagaytay is also now back in business after 90 days of community quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The famous ridge area of Cavite operated only two weeks before the lockdown, when the entire province was forced to stop operations because of the Taal Volcano eruption last January 12.

Alfonso Mayor Randy Salamat and Acting Police chief Major Ernesto Caparas will inspect the establishments to see if they are complying with the guidelines set by IATF. – Rappler.com