People stormed Bangkok’s malls on reopening day, and it wasn’t a good look (Photos)

Shoppers queue Sunday in front of popular Swedish furniture outlet Ikea at Mega Bangna. Photo: Tom Julpas Kruesopon / Facebook
Shoppers queue Sunday in front of popular Swedish furniture outlet Ikea at Mega Bangna. Photo: Tom Julpas Kruesopon / Facebook

Long lines and government tracking apps greeted shoppers Sunday as Bangkok rushed back to one of its favorite pastimes – the shopping mall.

Heavy crowds were spotted at shopping malls Sunday, the first day they and department stores were allowed to reopen by the government, raising concerns about concerns about the lack of social distancing and questions whether it might spark a “second wave” of new COVID-19 infections now that they apparently dwindled to few in number.

“Have we learned nothing?” businessman Julpas Kruesopon wrote online along with a photo of people queuing outside the Ikea at Mega Bangna. 

Gyms, beauty salons, libraries and cultural galleries were also allowed to reopen with strict rules in place. On Monday, health officials Monday reported three new COVID-19 cases, two of which were discovered in Bangkok. No deaths have been reported in nine days.

“Where is the social distancing we intended to do in the first place? So many people went to the malls today as if it’s Boxing Day, or there’s some world-class giveaway. Please take care of yourselves!” Twitter user Dwisdomdiary wrote. 

Health officials Monday reported three new COVID-19 cases, two of which were discovered in Bangkok.

Mega Bangna, which hosts one of Bangkok’s two Ikea branches, saw heavy crowds queuing to enter the popular Swedish furniture store. At other venues, including the Siam Discovery mall and a Big C in the northern metro area, shoppers were required to download the government’s tracking app called Thailand Wins and scan a QR code to log their arrival and departure. 

The application also backfired, given that not all shoppers possess a smartphone; many did not know how to download the application. 

“The problem is some people don’t know how to do it. This resulted in customers wait in lines and a packed crowd. Do you think this would prevent COVID-19 infection?” Twitter user Mootex4 wrote.  

It was not strictly enforced – one shopper who said he didn’t have his phone was allowed inside with a “mai pen rai.”

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