Fear of a dry Bangkok sparks rabid run on liquor, critics slam ‘feeble’ gov’t logic

True desperation stalked the supermarket aisles last night. Sweeping in on untouched bottles – no, better get the pack; no, the box; no, the entire pallet! – shoppers circled each other, channeling their collective fear into an orgy of alcohol buying like Bacchus had arrived to hold dominion.

In fact it was a hasty booze ban announced in Bangkok just hours before it came into effect that prompted a sweaty run on its stores, scenes of which were greeted with both amusement and frustration online.

Not long after the 2pm announcement – three hours, precisely, given Thailand’s limited hours for alcohol sales – shoppers packed into liquor stores and supermarkets to stock up on however much alcohol they would – or might – need for the next 11 days.

While some online joked about being “drunkards” unable to stand the thought of over a week of sobriety, many pointed blaming fingers toward the government for announcing the ban only a few hours in advance. Some argued the ban would have little effect on tackling COVID-19 but was more likely to spread it by igniting a rush on the stores.

“See? You banned booze sales and you think it would stop people from gathering and partying. Are you thinking too feebly?” wrote Twitter user @BettySodick. This makes people come and pack into one place at the same time. If this turns into a super spreader situation like the boxing stadium, what will we do?”

On Friday morning, Thailand announced another 50 cases of COVID-19, making for 2,423 since the outbreak began, though the actual number is likely much higher. One more fatality pushed the death toll to 33.

Another Twitter user claimed that she was waiting in line to the cashier for over one hour (sounds like a win for the coronavirus, no?)

“I’ve never waited in a queue to buy booze this long. It’s been 1 hour already!” @Namkwann tweeted.

“Emergency situation at Villa Market which will close in 10 minutes,” wrote @B8_za_z. “Even the staff wailed ‘I still haven’t hoarded booze yet! Now it’s only expensive beers!”








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