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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Restaurants request easing of Covid-19 rules and financial aid

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Restaurants struggling with Covid-19 restrictions requested aid from the CCSA.
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In a letter to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Thai Restaurant Association requested urgent relief for the nation’s ailing food and beverage industry. The association released a statement about the letter that they submitted outlining a proposal for easing Covid-19 restrictions on restaurants and dining, as well as offering up financial assistance ideas to keep businesses afloat to ride out the pandemic.

As acting director of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the restaurant group urged PM Prayut to take immediate action on the 2 key fronts. They stressed the urgency of these measures as over the last 40 days, numerous restaurants went out of business and an estimated 50,000 more food vendors will close in the next few months without relief.

First, the association requested that Covid-19 dining hours in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan be extended to 11:00 pm, with restaurants having to be fully closed by midnight. The group then suggested that all restaurants could increase permitted capacity by half the amount of total seats in the establishment.

So a restaurant with 100 seats could add an extra 50 seats to their Covid-19 safety dining capacity. They also further asked the CCSA to grant an 80% of total seats increase in capacity for those dining businesses that had received SHA certification, as the World Travel & Tourism Council recognises the certificate for safety standards.

The restriction of alcohol sales for Covid-19 safety has taken a massive bite out of many restaurants’ sales, as they are not allowed to offer an add-on beer or two with dinner for example. The Thai Restaurant Association proposed that businesses with the highest level SHA measures in place should be allowed to sell alcohol, allowing customers about 2 hours each of seating time to eat and drink.

Along with easing Covid-19 restrictions to allow restaurants to increase their income, the association proposed some measures of financial easement. They requested first a committee be formed to look specifically at the plight of restaurants during the pandemic and suggested the Thai Restaurant Association, Bank of Thailand, Ministry of Finance, and National Economic and Social Development Board all take part.

They proposed a tax write-off for owners of buildings, land and department stores to allow them to reduce rent they charge restaurants by 50% for at least the next 3 months. Further tax remedies were suggested, such as cancelling tax for the past year for personal and corporate income tax as well as house tax for restaurant businesses and owners and also extending by 6 months the period for collecting VAT tax.

The proposal submitted to PM Chan-o-cha suggested a 6-month reduction of water and electricity bills by 30% to keep operating costs low. Finally, the association offered a creating way to give financial aid with employee salaries by allowing restaurants to pay half their staff’s wages and workers could withdraw the other half from social security or other similar government programs.

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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