Bangkok Post: Baby steps for reopening businesses

Safety guidelines apply as restaurants and markets resume operation in Bangkok

City Hall has issued guidelines on the implementation of the government's relaxation of Covid-19 containment restrictions for 10 clusters of businesses and venues starting on Sunday.

The guidelines were announced on Saturday after a meeting of Bangkok's communicable disease control committee chaired by Pol Lt Gen Sophon Phisutthiwong, deputy Bangkok governor.

Restaurants, food stalls and street food vendors including those with space of more than 200 square metres are required to set up a body temperature checking point at the entrance and ensure customers keep 1m-1.5m away from one another, said Pol Capt Phongsakon Kwanmuang, the City Hall spokesman.

If it is impractical to keep that much space between customers, barriers must be installed between them, he said.

No buffet, self-service, alcohol or live music performances are allowed at such eateries, he said, adding that a proper queuing system and hourly toilet cleaning schedules are mandatory.

For markets -- namely open-air markets, wet markets, floating markets and community markets -- a clear entrance and exit with a proper body temperature screening and a hand-sanitising gel dispensing services are required. They must also limit the number of visitors at any one time, Pol Capt Phongsakon said.

"However, the popular Chatuchak weekend market which is among the 11 markets managed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will need one to two weeks of preparation to reopen," he said.

For beauty and hair salons, only haircutting, shampooing and hair drying services can be offered and they are required to draw up a schedule to ensure a 20-minute clean-up break to disinfect premises every two hours, Pol Capt Phongsakon added.

These salons are also required to keep a record of customer information, which may be needed to track suspected carriers, he noted.

Golf courses and driving ranges are allowed to reopen but no sauna, spa and massage services, as well as group golfing and competitions at these places, are allowed yet.

Other businesses allowed to reopen include medical and healthcare facilities, gyms, parks, pet grooming shops, supermarkets, convenience stores and retail shops, he said.

Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council said alcohol sales will also resume today but governors have the authority to consider imposing the ban again.

"Despite the reopening of these businesses, public health safety standards must still be maintained. And if necessary, the Bangkok governor and provincial governors may consider imposing stricter measures later," Gen Somsak said.

"If alcohol sales are found to cause an increase in illegal gatherings, they could end up being banned again," he said.

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