Hoteliers jittery over booze ban

Hoteliers jittery over booze ban

A diner at Bangkok's Sukhumvit 55, an area in Thong Lor. The alcohol ban and restrictions in restaurants was lifted on Tuesday. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL
A diner at Bangkok's Sukhumvit 55, an area in Thong Lor. The alcohol ban and restrictions in restaurants was lifted on Tuesday. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

Hoteliers are worried that provincial governors will delay lifting restrictions on alcohol as they are able to consider the rule independently.

On Monday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced a relaxation on the ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants, except Samut Sakhon, while the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officially complied with that order on Tuesday.

However, hotel operators cannot be assured about restarting booze sales as they have to wait for official announcements endorsed by each provincial governor, said Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association.

The order from the governor in each province might vary based on the colours of designated areas to curb the virus spread.

For instance, Bangkok which has been designated an orange or control zone can arrange bigger meetings of up to 300 people.

She said revenue from hotel restaurants, banquets and meetings which account for 50% of total revenue is the main revenue stream for hotels in Bangkok.

If the ban is lifted, the number of customers in restaurants will increase by 30-40%, especially in the evening.

She said the booze ban earlier hurt hotel businesses nationwide as demand had already plunged after the additional one million room nights in the government's subsidy campaign were completely redeemed this month.

For the long-term period, financial aid in terms of loans and measures to reduce fixed costs have to continue until the end of the year.

Mrs Marisa said financial institutions have to assist operators to stay afloat during unprecedented times, while they can roll out measures like a grace period on loans to customers who used to perform well before the outbreak to avoid mounting non-performing loans.

Thai Restaurant Association president Taniwan Koonmongkon said after lifting the alcohol ban in restaurants, operators will be able to attract customers for dine-in services which support revenue and jobs for waiting and parking staff.

Normally, restaurants gain profit from food at 20-30%, while profit from beverage sales including alcohol accounts for 60%.

Mrs Taniwan said some restaurants were closed down after the new wave of infections.

However, the majority of 114,000 registered restaurants with space over 200 square metres will benefit from measures like the co-payment subsidy scheme and the 7,000-baht cash handout.

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