Eatery edict nonsensical
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) should reconsider its decision to close down mall restaurants. Unless there is proven danger of transmission, there is no reason why the centre should ban them from selling food online.
At present, the CCSA allows restaurants and eateries located outside department stores to offer takeaways and online deliveries. The same should go for those based in malls.
Location should not make a difference in terms of disease control.
The latest round of restrictions starting July 20 has been particularly damaging for mall restaurants and eateries.
Not only did the order come down suddenly but it also did not appear sensible.
While it was to be expected that no dine-ins would be allowed in restaurants across the board, it is questionable why only eateries inside malls have to be closed while stand-alone ones can offer takeaways and deliveries.
Besides, the CCSA allowed supermarkets, pharmacies and vaccination centres in the malls to operate. This should mean it is possible to implement safety regulations and ensure that activities inside malls will not cause transmission and spark new clusters.
Indeed, some people may argue that while supermarkets are necessary as people need to stock up on supplies of food and necessities, the number of people that could be in a supermarket at any one time could be more than the few usually employed in restaurants and eateries.
Also, most restaurants and eateries whose outlets were ordered closed had no choice but to find temporary locations from where they could offer online deliveries anyway. Does the CCSA believe relocation makes a difference in terms of disease control?
The order also meant that thousands of people found themselves out of a job without the financial means to support themselves. Compensation from the Social Security Fund is not enough to cover their expenses.
Nobody would complain if the restriction were necessary and could be justified. In this case, however, there are simply too many questions about whether mall-based restaurants and eateries were dealt with fairly based on proven data and evidence.
The case of mall restaurants and eateries should serve as a reminder to the CCSA that it has to take into consideration multi-faceted factors and stakeholders before coming up with measures to curb the pandemic.
Its decisions must be prudent and most important of all, the policies and measures must be well-thought-out. They must be well-conceived and designed to work. That is how the CCSA could maintain its credibility and respectability which would prompt people to comply with its policies and measures, thereby leading to successful results.
A lockdown just for the sake of locking things down will not help control this ravaging disease. As the central Covid-19 command and control, the centre not only has to ensure that its restrictions are proportionate and sensible but it also has to come up with supplementary measures to make the lockdown is effective in controlling the disease.
It's time for the centre to function as a Covid-19 war room. It cannot just impart orders and preach to the public. It has to take responsibility for its policies. If it rolls out any new restrictions, it has to make sure they are effective. If not, it needs to correct them immediately without waiting for outrage to erupt first.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
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