TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Restaurants in Taipei, New Taipei City, and Yilan on Tuesday (Aug. 3) opened for indoor dining for the first time since Level 3 restrictions were imposed in May.
On Monday (Aug. 2), New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) announced that the "Twin Cities" would allow indoor dining on Tuesday. Yilan announced on July 30 that it would remove its ban on indoor dining on Tuesday.
This marks the first time diners will be allowed to eat inside restaurants since the Level 3 epidemic alert was announced in Taipei and New Taipei on May 15. However, there is a long list of regulations that eateries must follow before they can permit customers to dine in.
Required measures include checkerboard seating, dividers on tables, hand sanitizer, 1.5 meters of space between tables, and food served as individual meals. At all-you-can-eat buffets, staff members must serve the food to customers.
The maximum number of indoor diners allowed at one time is 50, while outdoor dining spaces are limited to 100. Restaurants are required to notify city health department officials three days in advance if the number of diners will exceed these limits.
Waiters and waitresses must wear masks and gloves at all times, while customers must wear masks immediately before and after eating. Violators of these rules will face fines of between NT$3,000 (US$107) and NT$15,000.
As Sunday (Aug. 8) is Taiwanese Father's Day, many restaurants are already reporting increased reservations and anticipate an uptick in business over the weekend. TVBS cited the SOGO department store chain as saying that it has received a 20% increase in inquiries about restaurant reservations, primarily for Sunday.
The Breeze Group is anticipating that crowds will rise to 80% of those seen before Level 3 restrictions were imposed. Far Eastern Department stores have a more conservative estimate of 50% capacity for the coming days.