Dining restrictions to be eased in Bangkok

The country plans to allow restaurants to resume dine-in services in capital Bangkok, a senior official said, but opening hours and the number of diners will be limited as the country grapples a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Restaurants in dark red zones like Bangkok will be allowed to reopen for dine-in services but at a limited capacity of 25% and will have to close at 9pm, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a coronavirus task force spokesperson on Saturday.

Restaurants in dark red zones, which have the highest risk of infection and the strictest restrictions, could previously only open for delivery.

The new regulations, subject to the prime minister’s approval, should take effect before today, he said at a briefing, adding that some 100,000 restaurant operators and staff will be offered vaccines to ensure their safety.

Since April, Thailand has been battling its deadliest outbreak.

Yesterday, Thailand crossed the 100,000 Covid-19 infections mark with 2,302 new cases and 24 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Bangkok again led the list of most cases with 1,218, followed by 243 in Pathum Thani and 117 in Samut Prakan.

Bangkok, the epicentre of the outbreak, and four other provinces are categorised as dark red zones.

Another 17 provinces are in red zones, risk areas where restaurants can serve customers until 11pm and 56 provinces are in orange areas, where there are no dining restrictions. Malls nationwide will still close at 9pm and entertainment venues remain closed.

Thailand has administered 2.2 million vaccine doses to frontline workers and high-risk groups so far and a broader vaccination drive is expected to start in June.

An app for foreigners is also being developed to allow them to register for inoculation, said Natapanu Nopakun, a foreign ministry spokesperson.

“Walk-in vaccinations will be available soon. Provinces that are ready can commence immediately. Foreigners can walk into these locations when they are announced, ” he said. — Reuters/The Nation/ANN

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