The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has asked restaurants and eateries to comply with dining-in restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus, warning about the fourth wave of coronavirus cases.
On Wednesday, Gen Natthapol Nakpanich, head of CCSA’s operations center, said that a fourth COVID-19 wave is imminent as the country faces the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
Health authorities found that the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, first discovered in India, has advanced faster than the Alpha strain. The latter, first found in the UK, was the widely detected coronavirus variant in Thailand in recent weeks.
In response to the situation, experts recommended new measures that authorities quickly implemented last weekend without prior notice to business owners.
The abrupt announcement drew strong criticism from affected companies, whose operations have had to cease or significantly downsize due to restrictions. Restaurant owners and operators protested the government’s decision, saying it left them little time to prepare.
The Royal Gazette published the dining-in banning around midnight Saturday, adding that it would go into effect on Monday.
Shortly after, the #GooJaperdMuengJaThammai campaign, which translates to “We’ll Open, What Are You Going Do About It?” in English, began to expand online. Its organizers explained that it consists of three stages.
The first stage focus on 10-15 restaurants and eateries reopening, with live music but limited customer capacity, in each Bangkok district.
The second stage will see opened businesses serving alcohol but only to close friends and regular customers. Besides, in the third stage, restaurants and beer gardens will be set up on the roads, creating spots for protest speeches.
Campaign organizers also said they had hired lawyers to help defend participating restaurants and eateries in court for violating the executive order.
However, Gen Natthapol urged business owners and operators not to join the civil disobedience campaign, saying that defying the dining-in ban could increase the virus transmission and endanger both theirs and their customers’ lives.
He assured that restaurants and eateries operators and staff would receive compensation for their business disruption.
Gen Natthapol also reminded that the measure was implemented after health authorities discovered that many people had caught the virus during group visits to restaurants and eateries.