Bangkok restaurant owners “blindsided” by restaurant dine-in closure, demand significant financial aid, joining chorus of upset businesses

PHOTO: Matichon

Bangkok –

The President of the Thai Restaurant Association today, June 27th, has reacted to the Royal Gazette’s early morning announcement of the prohibition of restaurant dine-in for Bangkok and its vicinity and stated that they believe all restaurant business is dying due to the government’s sudden and repetitive implementation.

President Thaniwan Kulmongkol expressed her statement online regarding the order issued at the early hours of this morning, around 1:00 A.M., that no matter how small, medium, or large the restaurant businesses are, they all are essentially in the same situation as being hit by lightning out of nowhere repeatedly 4-5 times with no assistance being given. She and many others also referred to the middle-of-the-night announcement as a “blindside and claimed there was no pre-communication from the government or meetings with the restaurant industry to get their opinions and input.

PHOTO: Prachachat

Thaniwan stated online “We will not collapse or die right away, but we are lying on the ground in torture. No doctors, no equipment to help us recover. We are lying in the hot sunny atmosphere, waiting for the time to die.”

The closure order was suggested by medical doctors, according to her statement. “A prominent doctor recently revealed on a TV program that a deceased elderly Covid-19 patient went dining in a restaurant and removed their facial mask when consuming food, therefore they were infected with Covid-19.”

“Therefore, removing a mask to consume food is the most dangerous thing, according to this doctor. Everyone should have food takeaway to eat at home, not to sit and eat at the restaurant – which is 90 percent of the restaurant’s income. This is on top of restrictions on hours, ban on the sales of alcohol, and more that have continued to hurt our industry. We cannot survive without these continued restrictions and closures and no financial aid.”

A 36-year-old Japanese restaurant owner, Ekaphong Montong, admitted that he had been affected because the order was sudden and unexpected.

He told reporters: “Japanese food is the type of food that must be served with fresh ingredients. There are a lot of ingredients that have been ordered into stock for cooking. Most of them may be rotten and useless if the food cannot be sold in time due to limited opening hours as well as the limited number of customers and a result of no dining-in policy. We should have been given much more substantial advance notice.”

“We have always cooperated to comply with all government announcements. But we just wanted to ask the government to be more precise about the situation, unlike now when the Prime Minister said there would be no lockdown 3-4 days ago but the order of restaurants being shut came out of nowhere. Entrepreneurs are, therefore, unable to prepare or plan to cope with the sudden order. As an entrepreneur, I would like the government to prove your attitude more clearly, including remedial measures to provide concrete assistance to entrepreneurs, not leaving all the problems to us solely,” he stated.

Additionally, Chomphunuch Nawamphakdi, the owner of “At Phra Nakhon” restaurant, said that her business has also been quite affected. Her income revenues have dropped more than 70 percent since the first order of restaurant closure implementation.

“One of the restaurant branches needed to be closed down in order to sustain the business and employees as a whole. We just want the government to witness and take care of the actual problems of entrepreneurs, including providing financial remedies to small entrepreneurs like us more.” Chomphunuch stated.

This is in addition to growing demands for financial aid and assistance from the entertainment sector, which has been shut for coming on three months due to government Covid-19 orders as well. Representatives from this industry also claim they have had little to no government aid for this shutdown.

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