The Thai Restaurants Association has fiercely opposed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s proposal to limit eateries to selling only takeaway orders and ban sit-in meals to prevent spreading Covid-19.
In the letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the association said the idea announced by the BMA last week is unfair and detrimental to the ailing economy.
The letter said: “The second wave of Covid-19 is not related to the eatery sector at all. The real culprit is illegal businesses.”
The letter was signed by Thai Restaurants Association president Thaniwan Kulmongkol.
“All restaurant businesses, whether large or small, have followed the Public Health Ministry’s Covid-19 preventive guidelines,” the letter said. “Even more, over 80% of large and medium size restaurants have joined the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration in a bid to improve hygiene and staff in our sector are even more capable and well prepared to provide a high level of sanitary standards.”
The association urged the premier and the CCSA to stop the BMA from imposing the order, warning the impact from the policy would “rub salt into the wounds of the ailing local economy”.
“The value of restaurant and food service businesses is 400 billion baht and we hire a huge number of workers,” it said.
The association predicted a furlough and even job cuts if the BMA decided to go ahead with the idea.
“Some restaurants might not be able to survive and that means a rise in unemployment,” Ms Thaniwan said.
In addition, the decision would affect local farm products as restaurants and eateries would buy fewer ingredients, she predicted.
The association warned the order would affect state revenue from business taxes and would also mean fewer contributions to the Social Security Fund.
The BMA’s Communicable Disease Committee is yet to decide whether to order restaurants to provide only takeaway orders. BMA has ordered the closure of 25 types of businesses, including entertainment places, to contain the spread of a re-emerging Covid-19 outbreak, and with no end date announced.
Restaurant owners and other businesses in designated high-risk provinces, including Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, are anxiously waiting for orders yet to be announced by provincial governors which may well follow decisions made by the BMA.