Hotel industry, retailers mixed on proposed return of face mask mandate

HOTEL INDUSTRY associations are mixed on the possible reimposition of the face mask mandate in the Philippines amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.     

Eugene T. Yap, Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP) president, on Monday said the group is hoping of not much mask requirement.”    

We hope that there will be not much mask requirement, but I think we now leave it to the establishment,Mr. Yap said during a press conference of the Philippine Furniture Furnishings Market (PFFM) launch.  

Mr. Yap said that mask wearing is still important, especially in the food service sector.   

Right now, I can see the mask is still an important part especially in food serving areas. Many areas, if it is outdoor, you will encounter it less. But mostly in food service area, that will still be very prevalent and very required,he said.   

The Health department recently said that the government may reimpose the mandatory wearing of face masks following a spike in COVID positivity rate.

On May 2, the Health department said that local COVID-19 cases rose 42% to 637 average daily cases during the April 24 to 30 period compared to the 450 average daily cases from April 17 to 23.    

Benito C. Bengzon Jr., Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Inc. (PHOA) executive director, said that member hotels have always observed strict guidelinesset by the government.   

On the part of the hotels, it is fairly simple, we follow the guidelines issued by the governmentThe minimum public health standards have always been in place, and we will abide by the guidelines provided by the government,he said.   

Meanwhile, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Chairman Paul A. Santos said shop owners can still require their respective workers to wear a mask.   

We can impose that on our employees because these are workplace safety rules. We can certainly do that. We cannot impose similar standards on our customers,Mr. Santos said.   

While the government may want to recommend that everybody can relax masking, its still up to the individual retailer,he added.    

The PFFM exhibition, set from July 5 to 7 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, will feature the latest trends on home furniture, outdoor furniture, office and commercial furniture, home décor, and lifestyle products.    

Some of the participating countries include China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The PFFM is projected to attract at least 8,000 trade visitors.   

PFFM is organized by the Malaysia-based organizer Derrisen Sdn Bhd in partnership with various local associations such as the HRAP, PHOA, PRA, Association of Purchasing Managers of Hotels and Restaurants of the Philippines. Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions. Revin Mikhael D. Ochave