The dust from the latest Covid-19 outbreak is still settling. Already, restaurants are feeling its effects—and some aren’t happy about what they view as an uneven application of anti-virus measures.
Yesterday, as Covid cases soared, with an outbreak stemming from pubs, bars, and a hostess club in Thonglor spreading further and faster across the city than other previous infections, several restaurants were forced to shut their doors for two weeks because of contact tracing.
Some have questioned why restaurants have been ordered to close while the many luxury malls and hotels visited by Covid-infected customers are allowed to remain open.
“Since we discovered a customer [infected with Covid-19 had visited our restaurant], we closed and shifted all orders to delivery,” said the owners of Saphan Kwai’s Phed Phed Cafe in a translated Facebook post.
“An officer checked in with us, and we told him we won’t open the restaurant but will continue to solely sell for delivery. The officer, however, said we couldn’t do that, as an official statement said it was mandatory for restaurants [in our scenario] to remain closed for 14 days. We asked them why only restaurants are forced to close while the major department stores are allowed to stay open.”
As restaurant closures began to quickly multiply outside of the cluster-affected zones—with venues like Sushi Zo
, Chim Chim, Philtration
, and Changwon Express
shuttering for two weeks as of yesterday—food and beverage figures made public pleas for support and understanding.
วอนผู้มีอำนาจ ตัดสินใจให้รอบคอบ ร้านอาหารพึ่งลืมตาอ้าปากกันได้...Posted by ThiTid Tassanakajohn on Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Pictured: A call for support by chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn
“Restaurants just reopened [after the last forced closures]. Many hoped that Songkran would help them recover. There are so few remaining now. Going back to 9pm closures and no sales of alcoholic beverages is a death penalty,” he wrote in Thai. “Where are most of these cases coming from anyway? Please don’t include us. #saverestaurants”
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Director of Chulabhorn Hospital Nithi Mahanonda implied that he wished he were in power so that he could permanently close bars and pubs. He went on to say that his government would provide subsidies for bartenders to find jobs that are more beneficial to “a land of Buddhism.”
He did not delete the post before netizens could screen-grab it, however.
Many have since commented on Dr. Nithi’s other, newer posts with screenshots of his screed.
เราไม่อยากหมดหวังในมวลมนุษยชาตินะ แต่ทุกครั้งที่เราเห็นอะไรแบบนี้เราก็จะท้อแท้ใจ 555555 และที่เรารับไม่ได้คือ...Posted by Natasha Patamapongs on Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Pictured: Facebook user Natasha Patamapongs addressing the doctor’s proposal. “[I am] nobody, but I am not afraid of speaking the truth.”
Currently, entertainment venues in the Klong Toey, Wattana, and Bang Khae districts must remain closed through Apr 19. Closures outside of these zones are on a case-by-case basis.
Although government authorities have discussed early closures and a ban on the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants, neither have been enacted yet.