Draft law would ban online alcohol sales in Thailand

PHOTO: Nordan.org

In April, the government imposed a nationwide ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages as part of the Emergency Decree to stem the spread of Covid-19. Now the country’s top alcohol regulator has approved a draft regulation to ban online alcohol sales. The move comes after alcohol watchdog groups urged the government to crack down on the online sales, which surged during the local pandemic lockdown response from the Thai government. The deputy health minister says the new rule aims to prevent consumers from “having easy access to alcohol”.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has given rise to online sales of alcoholic beverages, especially on social media, where promotions and home delivery services are offered. There are no age, time, or location restrictions, resulting in uncontrolled access to alcohol and difficulty in enforcing the alcoholic beverage control law.”

Under current law, online sale of alcoholic isn’t prohibited provided the vendor holds a valid license. However, it’s illegal to post photos or publicly encourage people to consume or purchase booze, including on the internet.

Officials say the new restrictions will take effect soon, though the exact date is yet to be announced.

The chief of the Disease Control Department says the new rule will not apply to establishments that use electronic devices to display their drink menu since the transaction does not take place online.

Yesterday, representatives of alcohol merchants and brewers handed a petition to the Alcohol Control Board asking the government to postpone the decision, saying the industry is still reeling from the coronavirus crisis. According to the president of the Craft Beer Import and Distribution Association:

“Although alcohol can be sold now, businesses have to communicate with their customers. This will make things more difficult for the industry.”

Alcohol sales will be prohibited from this Saturday to Monday due to a Buddhist holiday over the weekend.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

Economy NewsThailand News

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