Malls plead to deliver food

A delivery man stands by near an eatery at a shopping centre in Lat Phrao area of Bangkok last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

A proposal to allow eateries and restaurants in department stores and shopping malls to sell food via online delivery platforms will be presented for approval by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Taisaranakul said that the Public Health Ministry had already discussed the matter with the CCSA and will put forward the proposal shortly.

The government is aware of the plight of eatery and restaurant operators affected by the latest round of restrictions from July 20, she said on Monday.

Among them was the renewed shuttering of restaurants and eateries in shopping malls.

Under the plan, staff and employees must follow all relevant hygiene procedures, and commute on special “sealed routes”, she said.

Orders will not be available for collection and must be made via online delivery platforms, she said.

Department stores and shopping malls can also arrange pick-up points, which must be well-ventilated aside from all other prevention measures.

Previously, a food service consulting company slammed the government’s latest restrictions which have hit establishments in shopping centres particularly hard.

Last Wednesday, Restaurants’ True Friend posted an open letter to the government on Facebook, crying foul over the restriction imposed in 13 red-zone provinces.

Only supermarkets, pharmacies and vaccination centres in shopping malls have been allowed to remain open, while all other businesses have had to shut. This has resulted in thousands of employees losing their jobs and compensation from the Social Security Fund is not enough to cover their expenses, the consultancy said.

Meanwhile, Thailand logged a record 15,376 new cases and 87 fatalities over the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Monday, taking the country’s accumulated caseload past half a million. Of the 15,376 new cases, 14,335 were in the general population and 1,041 among prison inmates.

Bangkok logged 2,573 new cases, followed by 1,074 in Samut Sakhon, 970 in Samut Prakan, 867 in Chon Buri and 719 in Nonthaburi.

“Bangkok also recorded slightly over 1,000 new cases with antigen test kits,” according to Apisamai Srirongson, assistant spokesperson for CCSA.

“However, about 80% of them were green-coded, meaning the patients were asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms that were not respiratory. These cases must stay at home and contact relevant officials for home isolation services,” Dr Apisamai said.

Greater Bangkok had 5,948 new cases, 41% of the daily nationwide total, she said, adding that infections had been spread to several provinces by people returning home from Greater Bangkok, Dr Apisamai said.

Outbreaks had emerged in Nan, Phayao, Phrae, Uttaradit, Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Mukdahan, Si Sa Ket, Yasothon and Ubon Ratchathani.

She added that some provinces have allowed people infected in Bangkok to return home for treatment.

“Hospital beds in some provinces are now at 70% capacity, so home and community isolation may have to be adopted as in Bangkok,” she said.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said that Deputy Defence Minister Gen Chaichan Changmongkol has instructed security agencies to step up surveillance along the border after some 3,552 migrants, mostly from Cambodia and Laos, were arrested this month, the spokesman said.

Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has also instructed military personnel to help City Hall set up community isolation facilities in 50 districts of the capital, Lt Gen Kongcheep added.