Chiang Mai wants return of dine-in service
Falling infection rate justifies it: governor
Chiang Mai: The provincial governor has asked the authorities to allow restaurants and food shops to provide dine-in services until 9pm following an easing of the Covid-19 crisis.
A source said Chiang Mai governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansat made the request in a letter to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Chiang Mai is among six provinces declared maximum-control and strict control areas, colour-coded as dark red, by the CCSA.
Restaurants in those provinces -- Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan -- are prohibited from offering dine-in services and can only stay open for takeaway orders until 9pm.
The governor's move follows last week's call by the Chiang Mai Restaurant and Entertainment Venue Association for the dine-in ban to be scrapped because it would harm more than 14,000 restaurants and 80,000 employees.
The association also argued there had been no reports of infection clusters linked to local restaurants.
Mr Charoenrit attached a copy of the association's petition with his submission.
The governor, in his capacity as head of Chang Mai's communicable disease control body, said he supported the association's demand, asserting that the number of infections had been in decline over the past week so the dine-in ban should be relaxed for the sake of struggling business operators.
When the third wave of the pandemic hit early last month, Chiang Mai saw three-digit infections every day but they have since fallen to double digits. On Wednesday, the province logged just 23 new cases, raising the total to 3,789.
One creative restaurant adapted to the new rules by offering a drive-in buffet in which customers could eat for two hours in their own vehicles but the Department of Health was against it, due to the narrow gaps between vehicles and the fear that people would use it as an opportunity to socialise.