690 curfew breakers spur booze ban threat
A sudden rise in the number of people breaking the curfew to drink alcohol between Sunday night and early Monday morning has prompted a warning that the government may have to reinstate the sales ban.
A total of 690 people defied the curfew, representing a 60% rise on the previous night when the alcohol sales ban was still in effect.
The ban was lifted in most provinces including Bangkok on Sunday, which marked the first of a 14-day trial period for resuming alcohol sales.
Of the 690 curfew violators, 129 were also involved in social drinking gatherings prohibited under the emergency decree, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin,
The other types of misconduct associated with curfew violation were gambling and illicit drug use, he said.
"The country won't be able to succeed in [containing Covid-19] without cooperation from everyone.
"Only when it is certain the country is totally free of the virus will we be able to live a normal life again," he said.
"The 14-day trial will be crucial. It will give the government a clear idea whether other Covid-19 restrictions should be eased, or whether we go back to square one.
"All statistics are being compiled for evaluation. If new infections remain low during the easing of the restrictions, we will move on to the next phase," said Dr Taweesilp said.
"But if infections flare up, the easing will be reviewed and possibly stopped.
"What we have achieved in the past month is meaningful and what we do in the next 14 days will be even more important," the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, Siriphon Detsing, deputy chief executive officer of Siam Makro Plc, said sales of alcoholic beverages at Makro branches continued to rise on Monday.
Those living in the provinces where an alcohol sales ban persists had travelled to nearby provinces to buy the alcohol, she noted.
In Ubon Ratchathani, governor Sarit Withun warned residents to strictly adhere to the Covid-19 containment practices as the lockdown in the province has been relaxed.
However, if lifting the alcohol sales ban pushes up infections, he warned he would ask the government to suspend sales again.