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Thailand’s new ‘normal’ – Government charts course post-April 30

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s new ‘normal’ – Government charts course post-April 30 | The Thaiger
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“The government will ease restrictions on businesses reopening only when it does not place people at a higher risk of catching the disease.”

Trying to find a balance between the public health needs and the imperative to re-boot Thailand’s economy, the Government is rumoured to be mulling another month of the emergency decree. The current emergency decree is set to expire in 9 days, on April 30.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, a source told the Bangkok Post that the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, as the chairman of the CCSA, again expressed concern for people affected by the travel restrictions and closures enforced by the national decree. He instructed the Public Health Ministry to meet with business leaders and evaluate how to allow some business to reopen – markets and department stores. The focus for the government is on provinces which have remained free of coronavirus infections, or had at least 2 weeks without new infections.

The source maintained that entertainment venues would remain closed and that the nationwide curfew would probably be extended for at least another month, although the PM has instructed security officials to allow additional delivery vehicles to operate overnight.

He said that the extension of Thailand’s emergency decree won’t be discussed at today’s weekly cabinet meeting, but the National Security Council secretary-general Somsak Rungsita says a proposal for an extension of the decree will be forwarded to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for discussion later this week.

CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, speaking yesterday in his daily media briefing, said that the government is trying to find the right balance between the public health implications and the need to restart local economies.

“They have to stay in balance, and go along with each other.”

“Provinces with no virus cases were high on the list to be allowed to ease restrictions.”

Those provinces are Ang Thong, Bung Kan, Chai Nat, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Nan, Ranong, Sing Buri and Trat. Additionally, there are 32 provinces that haven’t reported any new infections over the past 14 days.

Dr Kamnuan Ungchusak, an adviser to Thailand’s public health minister, says the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade of Thailand, and the Federation of Thai Industries have agreed that before any businesses will be allowed to reopen, they must be categorised according to the level of risk.

“They must also calculate how much space they have and how many customers should be allowed inside to keep possible transmission to a minimum while they must also ensure their premises are well-ventilated.”

“High-risk businesses such as bars, pubs, entertainment venues, and karaoke establishments will remain closed.”

“Medium-risk businesses, such as barber shops, hair salons, restaurants, food shops, department stores and shopping malls, would be allowed to reopen gradually, though they must not hold sales which draw large numbers of customers and record entry and exit information to track customers.”

“A nationwide real-time monitoring system should be implemented to provide people with updates on local transmissions.”

“If these guidelines are followed, pro­vinces which have no new infections may be allowed to reopen first.”

“Restrictions could also be eased in provinces which remain free of infections until the end of this month, as well as another 38 provinces that have only had sporadic infections.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand

Caitlin Ashworth

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First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

Since not much is happening in the air, Thai Airways is running new business schemes on the ground. For their newest venture, the company opened a deep fried dough street food stand. They say the fried dough with taro custard is an “award winning” recipe.

Thai Airways has already opened a pop-up restaurant serving “in flight” food to customers seated in repurposed airplane seats. They also started offering package deals for a lessons on their flight stimulator, touting that it’s the most realistic stimulator in Thailand and is usually used to train pilots.

For their new fried dough stand outside of the company’s Bangkok headquarters, the new business venture has already “taken off.” Nation Thailand says a long line of people waiting for the 50 baht fried dough early Wednesday morning.

The stand is up from 6:30am to 9:30am in front of their headquarters on Silom Road.

Hopefully they’ll make a profit out of the fried dough with taro custard as they currently owe around 245 billion baht (give or take a few billion), according to Reuters. So 245 billion baht, divided by 50 baht, minus the costs of the taro and dough… they will have to sell a LOT.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Foodpanda joins online grocery delivery movement

The Thaiger

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Foodpanda joins online grocery delivery movement | The Thaiger

Get your latest dinner or snack, or now a delivery from your supermarket. Foodpanda is the latest player to join the online grocery delivery movement as it is now operating under Pandamart. The German-based delivery app is the latest establishment to shift its focus on capitalising from “quick commerce” which sees items being delivered faster than traditional grocery stores.

However, the game is on as Pandamart enters at a time when Grabmart and HappyFresh already have penetrated the rapid delivery market by their respective Grab and Line Man apps. Thomas Buchan, the director of new verticals at Foodpanda Thailand, says customers expect deliveries faster in this new era.

“We are entering the era of quick commerce [q-commerce] where digital customers expect faster delivery within minutes or hours, unlike the 4.0 e-commerce era when users wait for same-day or next-day delivery.”

Pandamart delivers products within 20 minutes as orders are mapped to its nearest product storage facility within 10 km for faster delivery times. Such merchants partnering with the company include Gourmet Market, Lawson 108, Tesco, Beauty Buffet and the retail giant CP Freshmart.

To entice users, it also offers free delivery for orders of 50 baht or more with snacks, alcohol and beverages bringing in the most sales. Currently, Pandamart operates in 12 Asia-Pacific countries and Buchan says that number is expected to grow as shopping habits change.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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