An owner of long-standing Thonglor restaurant Soul Food Mahanakorn announced today that the restaurant would be closing indefinitely.
In an Instagram story posted on his personal account, co-owner Jarrett Wrisley noted that the restaurant’s bar program “has always been an integral part of our business,” highlighting alcohol and operating hour restrictions that have “hurt us in unmanageable ways” for the decision to close now.
Wrisley, however, ended with a note of optimism, saying that the closure was expected to last four to six months, and that the restaurant team would save its remaining resources for the planned reopening.
The closure comes amid of year of uneven regulations and decimated tourism numbers, and just months after the restaurant celebrated its tenth anniversary.
The announcement also happened on the same day that F&B representatives staged another protest against a ban on alcohol sales inside bars and restaurants.
Following last week’s protests outside the Ministry of the Interior and City Hall, bar owners, alcohol importers and distributors, and F&B representatives came out in greater numbers this afternoon outside the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi, the headquarters of Thailand’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Protestors held signs reading “cocktail is not a crime [sic],” poured out kegs of spoiled, unsold beer, and laid out the word for “scapegoat” in Thai using alcohol containers.
Last week, reports were leaked suggesting the central government might allow alcoholic beverages—a key source of revenue for the hospitality industry—to be served inside bars and restaurants again.
Government officials ultimately elected to extend the ban, citing fears that it could lead to the continued spread of Covid-19.