Matichon file photo

BURIRAM — Local authorities in Buriram province on Monday enlisted help from a major online-based delivery service to send food from markets and restaurants to residents amid a ban on dine-in operation.

Registration for Grab delivery operators opens from Monday to Friday at Chang Arena, according to an announcement by Buriram’s prominent politician Newin Chidchob. While Grab only covered restaurants and cafes so far, Newin said local officials authorized the company to include vendors and food stalls in markets as well.

The expanded service will be available in Buriram about 10 days from now, Newin wrote.

Buriram’s initiative marked the first time Thai authorities worked directly with online delivery firms like Grab, who formally remain illegal in the eyes of transport officials, despite their ever-increasing ubiquity.

In an order that was first implemented in Bangkok and later adopted by some local authorities, restaurants and markets are instructed to suspend their dine-in services to comply with “social distancing” measures. Takeaway and delivery services are allowed.

On Monday, the health ministry issued a guideline urging delivery operators to wear masks, wash their hands with sanitizers, and refrain from coming in close proximity to customers.

Grab and other delivery companies like Lineman also offer a “contactless service” that kept physical contact to the minimum.