In solidarity with restaurants of Pakistan, Foodpanda is requesting federal and provincial governments to permit restaurants to operate indoor dining with enhanced social distancing and Covid-19 SOPs. Other countries that have successfully kept indoor dining open without increasing Covid-19 transmission risk have done so based on the following enhanced SOPs:
- No more than 1 person per 20 square feet of dine-in area
- Limit table sizes to maximum of 6 people
- Hand sanitizer on every table
- At least 8 feet distance between each table
- Temperature and mask check at the entrance for both employees and customers
- Mandatory mask wearing for all employees and customers
- Customers can only remove the mask when seated at their own table
- Charge a ‘Sanitization Fee’ of 10% of the total bill
- Mandatory leave for all employees showing flu or fever symptoms
- Post signage to remind customers of physical distancing rules
- Open doors and windows to increase ventilation
- Place food, cutlery, and condiments on the table only after customers sit down
- Hygienically sanitize all crockery and cutlery after every use
- Full daily sanitization of all surfaces in the kitchen and in the dine-in areas
- Allow restaurants to use open-air footpaths or parking space to place tables
- Open-air tables may be cordoned off for privacy using temporary tent/fabric walls
- Customers not following enhanced SOPs may be asked to leave
“Closing dine-in doesn’t just impact restaurants, it also affects incomes for associated businesses such as food suppliers, farmers, and packaging manufacturers. We believe enhanced dine-in SOPs will ensure the survival of restaurants, allow continued employment for millions of people, and reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19,” said Nauman Sikander Mirza, CEO at Foodpanda.
“While takeaway and delivery is currently permitted during limited hours for all restaurants, we believe it should be extended to 24 hours and 7 days a week because it incentivizes people to stay at home and dine in should be extended till 2AM,” Nauman added.
Restaurants in Pakistan employ millions of people and indoor dining is their biggest source of revenue. After almost 6 months of lockdowns in 2020, most restaurants are on the brink of bankruptcy. Contrary to popular belief, an overwhelming majority of restaurants are small family-run establishments that are the sole source of income for these families.