According to Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), restaurants have asked the government to relax its dine-in ban and for the operators and employees to be vaccinated.
The Thai Restaurant Association (TRA) has requested that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ease the dine-in ban which was due to last until at least Friday when the CCSA is due to decide whether to extend it or not. Gen Chan-o-cha is concurrently director of the CCSA.
Dr Visanuyothin said the association felt the ban, which has significantly pushed down restaurants’ income, should be relaxed if the COVID-19 pandemic situation improves.
He said restaurant operators will be responsible for putting in place supplementary public health safety measures on their premises. The Public Health Ministry will assess if the measures are sufficiently effective to guard against the virus which could then create confidence among customers.
If the measures are deemed to be workable, the ban could be lifted soon, he said.
Also, the TRA has requested that restaurant operators and employees in major provinces with high spending power be given access to the national vaccination programme, saying inoculation would dispel customers’ fear of virus transmission and help business.
Dr Visanuyothin said Gen Chan-o-cha recognised the importance of maintaining the lifeline of businesses, particularly those bearing a heavy burden from the pandemic.
He said restaurant owners need to generate income by serving customers in their establishments.
Gen Natthapon Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council and chairman of a CCSA sub-committee, said provincial governors will look into the TRA’s request for operators and employees to be given vaccinations.
Earlier, the Chiang Mai governor formally called on the CCSA to lift the dine-in ban in the province due to declining infections there, the same reason cited for closing a field hospital at Chiang Mai University.
Meanwhile, Gen Chan-o-cha said yesterday he has instructed governors of provinces with high rates of infection to monitor the contagion on a daily basis. The information will be a factor in deciding whether to relax certain COVID-19 restrictions or allowing some public activities to resume.
He said a balance must be achieved between keeping the economy moving and containing the virus.