BMA discusses new normal

BMA discusses new normal

Restaurant meals, haircuts and jogging in the park are back on ... but with many limits

Partitions are installed at the Penguin Eat Shabu restaurant in the Saphan Kwai area in Bangkok on Saturday. The restaurant accepts customers only by reservation. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Partitions are installed at the Penguin Eat Shabu restaurant in the Saphan Kwai area in Bangkok on Saturday. The restaurant accepts customers only by reservation. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Masks, distancing and fever checks are the new way of life in Bangkok for at least another month, even as City Hall eased the lockdown in the capital in line with the government’s announcement on Friday.

The measures the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to impose are similar to those already in place and in line with the government’s directives, said Pol Capt Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, a BMA spokesman, after a meeting of the capital’s communicable disease committee on Saturday.

The guidelines cover 10 types of businesses, most of which will be ready to offer services starting on Sunday. The exception is markets, where vendors are not yet ready to meet all the requirements. That includes the BMA-run Chatuchak weekend market, which will need “one or two weeks of preparation to reopen”, said Pol Capt Pongsakorn.

What follows is a summary of what will and won’t be allowed:

Eateries

Restaurants covering more than 200 square metres must check employees and patrons for fever while smaller ones must do the best they can. Seating must be 1m to 1.5m apart and partitions must be installed, except when tables are at least 2m apart.

Customers coming in groups are advised to be seated separately. 

Buffets are not allowed, only a-la-carte orders. Alcohol must not be served but can be brought home.

Live music is banned and distancing must be observed when queuing at cashiers.

Likewise, other types of eateries, stalls and hawkers must arrange for distancing for customers queuing to buy from them.

Markets

Wet, flea, floating and walking-street markets must set limits on the number of customers they can serve at a given time and restrict their entry and exit. Both vendors and customers must be screened for fever. Sanitisers must be provided and hand-sanitising must be promoted. Everyone must wear masks.

Barbershops, hair salons

Only trimming, washing and styling are allowed. Customer limits must be set, as well as 20-minute breaks at intervals for cleaning. Records of cleaning schedules must be kept, as well as details of customers. (story continues below)

Public health workers show employees of the Chalachol hair salon how to clean their equipment in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Clinics 

Beauty and weight-loss clinics remain closed. The operators of other types of clinics can reopen but hey must follow the guidelines to be issued soon by the Public Health Ministry.

Golf courses, driving ranges

Food may be served in the clubhouse and the same measures used by restaurants apply. No group activities are allowed during or after playing. No competitions can be held and distancing rules apply on the course.

Outdoor sports

The types of sports allowed to resume are tennis, shooting and archery. Food may be served at venues, with the same rules as restaurants. No group activities are allowed during or after playing. No competitions, team play or spectators are allowed. Distancing is to be observed at all times.

Looking to get some indoor exercise instead? That’s not possible yet as gyms and many other similar facilities remain closed (see list at end of story).

Public parks

Walking, jogging and cycling are allowed, as well as solo exercises. Non-group tai chi can be practised. Operators must restrict entry and exit and set up fever-screening checkpoints. Everyone must wear masks. No food can be sold or eaten but drinks can be sold.

Pet grooming shops, spas

Bookings must be made in advance and records of customers must be kept. Operators must ask customers questions to determine whether they are at risk.

Other retailers

Places that are already allowed to open such as supermarkets, convenience stores with dining corners, small retail shops or community grocery shops must limit customer numbers, check people for fever and ensure distancing while customers shop.

Telecom shops at malls can reopen and mobile vending machines can operate provided they are placed with social distancing in mind.

Drink responsibly 

Alcohol sales are allowed starting from Sunday for home consumption only, as stipulated by the central government.

However, if too many drinkers behave irresponsibly or stage gatherings at which disease transmission risk is high, the booze ban that was in place for most of April could be slapped on again, authorities warned.

“But if we discuss with our neighbouring provinces and the consensus is to suspend the sale, we will abide by the joint resolution,” Pol Capt Pongsakorn said.

On Friday the government announced the extension of the 10pm to 4am curfew by another month. It also banned gatherings including handouts to people, and meetings, except religious ceremonies, which are at the discretion of elders.

What’s not open yet

Under the announcement, the following places remain closed:

Cinemas, pubs, bars, entertainment venues, water parks, playgrounds, fun parks, zoos, skating or rollerblade rinks or similar types of sports, snooker parlours, billiard halls, bowling alleys, game shops, internet shops, public swimming pools and cockfighting rings.

Also closed are department stores, shopping centres, fitness centres, beauty clinics, trade exhibition halls, conference halls, exhibitions, museums, public libraries, nurseries, elderly nursing homes, boxing rings, gyms, tattoo shops, dancing halls or schools, horse racing tracks, bathing services, saunas, health shops, Thai massage, foot massage and massage parlours.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (30)

US weekly jobless claims drop below 2m

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped below 2 million last week for the first time since mid-March, but remains astonishingly high as companies adjust to an environment that has been significantly changed by Covid-19.

4 Jun 2020

ECB expands, extends bond-buying programme

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank beefed up its bond-buying programme on Thursday in its latest effort to support a euro zone economy pummelled by more than two months of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

4 Jun 2020

Brazil, Mexico see record deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil and Mexico reported record daily coronavirus death tolls as governments in Latin America battled to fortify their defenses against the pandemic with fresh lockdown orders and curfews.

4 Jun 2020