A group representing more than 100,000 restaurants is pleading with the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to ease restrictions and prevent mass closures.
Thaniwan Kulmongkol, president of the Thai Restaurant Association, said it would ask the CCSA to establish a committee, comprising the National Economic and Social Committee, Finance Ministry, Bank of Thailand and other restaurant associations to tailor trading restrictions for each area and thus relieve the plight suffered by restaurateurs during the pandemic.
Ms Kulmongkol said most restaurants were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which had no channel to voice their problems to the government, even though they had connections throughout the industry and millions of people. If they continued to be affected, so would other businesses.
If the situation did not improve immediately, consumers would further slash their spending, Ms Kulmongkol added, affecting small and medium-sized restaurants even more.
The current “half-half co-payment” relief measure did not really tackle the problem, she added, as business owners still needed 50,000-100,000 baht in loans to secure their raw materials and pay their workers. Even those staying afloat by selling food through online food delivery platforms still faced very high operating costs.
Ms Kulmongkol said a special restaurant committee could help to ease their burden via an online platform until infections declined.
It could also ascertain the real number of 100,000-plus restaurant operators that need to send tax payments to the Finance Ministry, a far better outcome for the government than the current registration of 15,000 restaurants with the Commerce Ministry.
Ms Kulmongkol hoped the CCSA would impose different measures for different restaurants, according to the level of their sanitary conditions.