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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Controversial food delivery only rule faces criticism

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Is the switch from takeaway to delivery only really helping restaurants or patrons? (via NY Times)

Most people understand the need for Covid-19 restrictions and safety protections, but many people are complaining about one questionable restriction that affects anyone who owns a food establishment or indeed eats. Restaurants and their patrons are both miffed about the revision to the dark red zone Covid-19 restrictions that changed from food establishments being open for takeaway only to being open for delivery only. Many see the rule as arbitrary at best and doing more harm than good at worst.

While most restaurants had been previously ordered to allow takeaway only, restaurants inside malls had to close completely for 2 weeks in maximum and strict controlled dark red zones like Bangkok. And though they are allowed to reopen now, they can only open to delivery drivers, even if a takeaway customer is standing in front of them. And with the high fees of delivery service and the availability of food throttled for those without a mobile device or living outside of service zones, many restaurants are choosing to just stay closed until the restriction is lifted.

This has led to awkward scenarios where customers who live or pass by their favourite local restaurants are being forced to sit and wait at the restaurant as an online delivery service like Grab or Food Panda sends a motorbike to the restaurant in order for their driver to literally take the food out of the restaurant’s hands and turn around and place them into the waiting customer’s hands on site. For the delay, wasted time, and extra person and interaction involved, the customer likely paid a delivery fee and the restaurant paid a commission to the driver, often around 30%.

Many are questioning how this scenario is of any help in preventing Covid-19 and why the rule change was put in place that mainly seems to benefit delivery services. People have asked how requiring food to pass through additional hands was more safe than takeaway. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is unwavering in the stance that if they allow takeaway crowds will gather and people might wander the empty malls while waiting for food, creating many opportunities for Covid-19 transmission.

As of now, the controversial rule seems unlikely to change any time soon.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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