After a year and a half of closures and lockdowns and restrictions and regulations that often start and even end with the nightlife and entertainment industry, some bar and restaurant owners are sick of it and growing defiant. Citing the lack of government assistance and the sporadic and last-minute closure decisions that through livelihoods into chaos, some owners are urging rebellion and reopening.
Nightlife businesses like clubs, bars, and entertainment venues have been especially hard hit since the first action to curb Covid-19 outbreaks has usually been restrictions on alcohol and nightlife. And though restaurants have benefitted from some food and shopping government incentives and financial assistance programs, bar staff, bar workers and bar owners have not received any assistance.
This weekend, the Beer Wanderlust blog posted their intention to rally nightlife businesses to disobey Covid-19 restrictions and open with safety measures in place. The campaign is called Koo Ja Perd Mueng Ja Tam Mai Wa, in English essentially “F— the rules, I’ll open.”
The blog writes in anger that the restrictions don’t make sense, applying to nightlife businesses while other busy shops like convenience stores can open with only masks and temperature checks. The post has been liked and shared well over 1000 times.
“If 7-Eleven stores and shopping malls can open, I cannot see why we can’t. The risks are all the same, you idiots.”
The campaign encourages people to post a sign saying police and government are not welcome, and for those who are confronted by police to call for financial assistance like construction workers and demand that malls and similar venues be closed like bars and restaurants. They say if every nightlife venue defies the closure restrictions but follows social distancing and safety, there won’t be Covid-19 outbreaks and the government will have to change the rules.
Another fed-up hampered business encouraged restaurants to protest in a way that’s as delicious as it is defiant. The suggestion was made to set up food stands in front of Parliament to sell until the government provides some assistance.
The government has begun to launch plans to assist the crippled food and beverage industries with a 2000 baht monthly payment to furloughed restaurant staff and a 3000 baht incentive per employee on restaurant owner’s payroll. Many feel this is too little too late though as further lockdowns loom imminently.
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