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Can I Start Drinking at Restaurants Now?

This and other rules you need to know about GCQ.
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Almost two months into the general community quarantine, people are still unsure about the rules on dining out. People are asking which establishments are allowed to open, until what time are restaurants allowed to serve, and more important, is alcohol legal now?

In May 2020, when the government issued guidelines on who were allowed to work in areas under GCQ, restaurants were initially prohibited from accepting dine-in customers. However, they were allowed to deliver food. 

In June, the government finally allowed restaurants to reopen and accept dine-in customers, but only for establishments in GCQ areas. 

What are the operating hours of restaurants under GCQ?

It depends on where you live and the curfews being implemented in your city. 

For cities in Metro Manila, there are curfews starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. 

Because of the adjusted schedule of the curfews (which was previously set from 7 p.m to 5 a.m.), the government allowed restaurants to stretch their operating schedules until 9 p.m.

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But not all restaurants close at 9 p.m. Some close earlier to allow their staff to go home before the curfew. 

If you are thinking of dining out in the evening, you have to check with the restaurant about the time they close, whether they accept reservations, and how many people are allowed to dine at a given time. 

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Am I allowed to buy and drink alcohol now? Can I drink with my friends?

Yes, you can buy and drink alcohol and enjoy it with friends, but there’s a catch. You can only drink with 10 people, and you have to do it at home

In some areas in the Philippines like in Cavite and Paranaque, drinking in public is not allowed. You can get arrested if you are found intoxicated in public. 

The same rule is now implemented in Makati, where restaurants are no longer allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to customers. The city government had previously allowed establishments to serve liquor to their customers. 

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On July 8, the Makati City Council banned the consumption of alcoholic drinks after more than 100 people were arrested at a bar for allegedly violating quarantine rules. 

We passed an ordinance wherein we are prohibiting the consumption of alcohol outside one's residence. Why? Because of an unfortunate incident that happened last week,” said Mayor Abigail Binay of Makati in an online conference. 

According to Binay, they passed the ordinance so people will not be complacent by partying. 

Can we drink at restaurants if we reserved the place for a private function? 

No, you cannot drink at restaurants even if you had booked the place for a private function or party. You would still be drinking in a public place even if you booked it for a private function. 

Also, be warned that even if the restaurant or establishment has accepted your booking, only 10 people can participate in your event. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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