PM warns businesses to maintain strict social distancing or face closure

People eat their lunch in a food hall implementing social distancing after the Thai government relaxed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Bangkok on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned stores that they must observe the rules on maintaining strict physical distancing between their customers, or they may be closed down again.

The Prime Minister appeared to be concerned over the scramble to buy liquor, after the ban was eased on Sunday.

Meeting with the media, after the cabinet meeting today, the Prime Minister stressed the need for businesses to adjust to new practices, especially physical distancing among their customers, adding that he has instructed officials to warn the stores, where social distancing had not been observed in the past few days, to avoid unnecessary congestion.

He hinted that, if the initial easing of lockdown restrictions proceeds smoothly for 14 days, the Government could allow more businesses to reopen.

The Prime Minister reiterated the need for everyone to keep their guard up, even though the rate of new infections continues to slow.  He also stressed the importance of the media conveying the Government’s message to the public.

Commenting on an incident this morning, when BTS sky train stations were jammed with commuters due to service disruptions, the Prime Minister said, while the incident was unpredictable, the BTS management must take precautions to prevent a repetition of the incident.

Regarding the Government’s financial help, to cushion the economic impacts of the pandemic, the Prime Minister said that the situation might drag on for up to 9 months and, hence, help for the people might be need to be extended.

96% of business and leisure venues, or 9,032 places, complied with regulations during the lockdown, according to an opinion survey conducted between April 2nd and 30th, said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin.

The poll also shows 90.5% of the respondents disagreed with the reopening of boxing and sports stadia or horse racing venues.  89.9% opposed the reopening of entertainment venues, such as theatres and massage parlours.

On Visakha Bucha day this Wednesday, Taweesin said that the Sangha Supreme Council has banned all activities at temples, to prevent people from gathering, with the exception of the monks.


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