Appealing for patience, Prayuth coy on lifting restrictions

Thailand will relax some of the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said this afternoon following a meeting with his cabinet at the Government House.

Saying they had agreed to extend the state of emergency another month, Prayuth did not elaborate on which restrictions would be lifted in the meantime. He said they would be detailed in a later announcement.

With the economy cratering and facing anger and despair over his government’s response to the crisis, Prayuth appealed to business owners to understand the government’s priority was in protecting the public from the coronavirus.

“Please give us your cooperation. Please endure for a bit longer. I’m in pain as well as you guys,” Prayuth said.

He also asked the public not to violate the limits put in place under the state of emergency declared last month to grant unfettered power to the authorities:

“Please don’t violate the Emergency Decree because it has kept us safe, even foreigners have praised us for these measures.”

Airlines are expected to resume domestic service on Friday, and most bans on alcohol sales are set to be lifted that same day. Many are expecting some businesses including shopping malls, hair salons and massage parlors will be allowed to reopen as soon as Monday.

His national address, steamed live online, came only minutes after the cabinet rejected a proposal to cancel this month’s four public holidays, as had been proposed by the national COVID-19 task force.

Health officials today reported seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the fewest in a day since mid-March.

While Bangkok can once again get its hair washed, blow-dried and cut, forget about coloring it. Not allowed.

Meanwhile diners can be seated at restaurants not larger than “two shophouses” (what that means is unexplained) that have “good ventilation” (whatever that means) and don’t run the air conditioning during the hottest time of the year.

Those are just a few of the myriad rules, some confusing or unexplained, capital city residents face when they take tentative steps back toward normal this week, rules that business owners desperate for customers are wrangling with as the number of daily new coronavirus reports dwindles closer to zero.

Diners have started trickling back into restaurants, but many downtown still appeared empty as of Tuesday. Some had removed tables and chairs to create the mandated social distance between patrons; others had taken more innovative approaches.

In a number of restaurants, chairs were lined up, spaced out and turned to face the same direction, giving the appearance of an empty classroom.

The various conditions issued by the authorities for business to resume apply broadly to restaurants in commercial buildings such as hospitals, hotels and airports as well. Street food and hawker stalls are also included. Those located in department stores may only provide takeaway.

The only allowable alcohol might be found in the hand sanitizer all venues are required to make available.

Here is a list of the businesses that are conditionally allowed to reopen now, along with a smattering of the rules of what one can do – and not do.

  1. Medical clinics, dental clinics and hospitals – but not beauty clinics.
  2. Outdoor venues for tennis, horseback riding, archery, golf and shooting – but no gyms, spas or clubhouse saunas. Also, players have to keep it solo – no playing as a team.
  3. Public parks and public activity areas – but only outdoor areas set aside for walking, running, cycling, and exercising (alone).
  4. Pet hotels and shops for bathing and hair cutting excluding ones located in department stores. You or your pet got a cough? No service is to be provided to pets or owners with respiratory illness.
  5. Beauty salons, but only for washing, drying and cutting. Services that take time, such as coloring and nail painting, remain verboten.
  6. Hotels.
  7. Airports, train stations, and other transportation.
  8. Department stores may only open sections selling everyday products and providing daily essential services such as drug stores, supermarkets, telephone accessories and banks. Restaurants in a department store are allowed to open only for takeaway.
  9. Convenience stores.
  10. Street food stalls, hawker stalls, and small restaurants (maximum size of two shophouses) including ones in commercial buildings such as hospitals, hotels and airports. Dining in is allowed for the ones that have good air ventilation and with the practice of social distancing. No alcohol can be consumed.
  11. Markets excluding those with air conditioning, and they also cannot sell alcohol.
  12. Small retail stores (maximum size, again, of “two shophouses”)

Sources : coconuts.co

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