Update May 15: The Royal Gazette announced that on-site dining at restaurants in “highly controlled areas” (Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan) is allowed again Monday, May 17. The restaurants, however, can seat at 25% of capacity and must close to diners at 9pm. Takeaway will be allowed until 11pm.
Health officials said Friday they are considering reduced restrictions that could allow restaurants to partially reopen the worst-affected provinces such as Bangkok, Chonburi and Chiang Mai.
Allowing restaurants to welcome diners again on a limited basis was among options being considered by the COVID-19 task force spokesperson Taweesilp Wissanuyothin said today. They’re also considering whether to allow convenience stores and malls to remain open an additional hour, to 11pm and 9pm respectively.
On-site dining has been banned for two weeks, along with the closure of a range of venues and cap on gatherings at 20 people. What was under consideration Friday would allow restaurants to seat at 25% of capacity until a closing time of 9pm. It would also allow takeaway to continue until 11pm while alcohol could still not be served on the premises.
There was no discussion of relaxing the mask mandate which was enacted under a threat of a THB20,000 fine.
Taweesilp said the details of what they decide to do in each province is likely to be announced Saturday.
Despite signs that the spread of COVID-19 is not abating, the economic wounds it has reopened have spurred calls for businesses such as restaurants and bars to either reopen or receive financial aid.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!