Before you go out, here are the confusing rules to Bangkok’s partial reopening

Passers-by reflected in the window of an Au Bon Pain outlet being cleaned in Bangkok’s Thonglor area on Tuesday afternoon.
Passers-by reflected in the window of an Au Bon Pain outlet being cleaned in Bangkok’s Thonglor area on Tuesday afternoon.

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”)



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