Restaurant Operators Criticize New Conditions To Reopen

Restaurant and retail operators have criticized the government’s new directives, arguing that requirements to open are unrealistic.

Large restaurant chains, such as Mall Group, Minor Food, Zen Plc and Mae Sri Ruen restaurant, said they are unlikely to reactive their business under the new guidelines.

On Friday, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced it would lift most of its current strict restrictions on retail and restaurant sales from September.

However, eateries with open-air dining spaces can only operate with 75% capacity allowed, while air-conditioned venues can only open with 50% seating.

Moreover, all service personnel must obtain two doses of a Cpvod-19 get antigen tests every 5-7 days.

Under the new controls, restaurants must also ask customers to show proof of vaccination and have negative tests results before entering.

Prapat Siangjan, Minor Food Group’s chief operating officer, said the new guidelines do not help restaurant operators as expected, adding that they prefer to keep their 280 restaurants closed until more practical measures are defined.

“We will only open some branches when we are confident it will not lead to a loss,” he added.

Mr. Prapat also asked the government to reduce workers’ requirements to one shot.

Chan Ruengrung, executive vice-president of restaurant chain Mae Sri Ruen, said it would be hard for operators and customers to comply with new restrictions.

“Thais love freedom. They will not be happy to take an antigen test every time they want to eat at a restaurant,” he said.

Mr. Chan argued that the requirement was not practical because restaurants are not usually crowded as supermarkets or convenience stores.

Around 50% of Mae Sri Ruen’s staff received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and none have received a second shot, he went on.

Voralak Tulaphorn, chief marketing officer of the Mall Group Co., stated it was difficult to require the mall’s tenants to get two doses of a coronavirus jab.

She also asked the CCSA to ease the guidelines, allowing only one shot and one antigen test per month.