Update: PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday afternoon said he has repealed the Bangkok City Hall’s order to ban dining in restaurants from 7pm to 6am. Prayut said dine-in services will be banned from 9pm to 6am instead.
BANGKOK — Starting from tomorrow, restaurants in the capital will be banned from offering a dine-in service to customers at certain hours in a bid to curb the coronavirus epidemic, the City Hall announced on Monday.
Only take-aways will be allowed in all restaurants during the hours of 7pm to 6am, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said. The order will come into effect at 6am on Tuesday and also apply to street food carts.
Customers may still dine at restaurants outside of those hours, but sales and consumption of alcohol inside the venues will be prohibited, Pongsakorn said.
The order stops short of imposing a total ban on dining in restaurants, which has been suggested by some officials in recent days.
In an open letter released to the media, Thai Restaurant Association president Thaniwan Kulamongkol warned the Prime Minister that banning customers from eating at restaurants will cost the industry at least 100 billion baht in lost revenues.
“We feel very bitter about what happened, since the COVID-19 outbreak is caused by gambling dens and entertainment venues, not restaurants that strictly comply with public health standards,” Thaniwan wrote to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Opas Karnkawinpong, director of the Department of Disease Control, also urged office workers not to share a meal with their colleagues for the sake of social distancing.
“I’d like to ask for cooperation from the public. If possible, please stay home, work from home, and avoid dining together with people in your office,” Opas said.
Bangkok and 27 other provinces are now under the “Red Zone,” an area designated by health authorities as having the highest risk of coronavirus outbreak. Provincial Governors in the Red Zone are empowered to enact stringent measures to stop the spread of the virus.