Thailand to further ease restaurant dine-in curbs

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Bangkok, June 19 (IANS) Thai authorities have announced the further easing of restrictions on restaurant dine-in services in Bangkok and three other provinces as the government is struggling to strike a balance between Covid-19 containment and to recover the economy amidst the third wave.

From June 21, restaurants in Bangkok and its neighbouring Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces will be given two more hours for dine-in services and can receive customers up to half of their capacity, expanding from previous 25 per cent, Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson of the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said.

This was in response to a letter of petition from the Thai Restaurant Association, calling for an extension to the dine-in hours for customers at restaurants in the four regions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bangkok and the three provinces are the epicentre of the third wave, which has seen a sharp surge in infections since early April.

The four regions remain under maximum control and restrictions, the highest among the country’s four-tier category.

Restaurants in the four regions will be allowed to offer dine-in services until 11 p.m., compared with previous requirement of 9 p.m., according to Taweesin.

However, these restaurants cannot serve alcoholic beverages, while bars and karaoke lounges will remain temporarily closed, he said.

The pandemic has cut off travel to the tourism-reliant country and shuttered commerce.

To revive the economy, Thailand aimed to fully reopen to foreign visitors in 120 days and give at least one shot of vaccine to about 50 million people by October, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said earlier this week.

On Friday, Bangkok reported 867 new cases, still topping the list of regions, according to the CCSA.

The country reported 3,058 new cases during the last 24 hours, raising the total case tally to 210,782.

The death toll increased by 22 to 1,577.

–IANS
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