Thailand: Big Alcohol Has Its Way As Alcohol Sale Resumes
In Thailand, Big Alcohol has had its way as the government has reinstated alcohol sales.
As Movendi International previously reported, initially, Thailand imposed an alcohol sales ban till April 17, then extended it until April 30. The government stated the ban would be extended until May 31, but has gone back on this decision and lifted the ban in parallel to some COVID-19 lockdown relaxation.
Originally, the purpose of the alcohol ban was to help avoid larger gatherings of alcohol consumers and to limit private parties that could turn into “super spreaders” of the novel coronavirus, according to experts.
The lifting of the ban was because of the aggressive lobbying from the alcohol industry. Seven alcohol industry lobby groups – led by the Thai Fruit Wine and Local Spirit Producer Association, Thailand Bartender Association, and Thai Wine Association pushed for the government to allow alcohol sales ahead of lockdown relaxation.
Following this push, the government has allowed for alcohol selling outlets such as restaurants and alcohol shops to re-open from May 3. People are not allowed to consume alcohol on-premise but can purchase and take alcohol home. Outlets are requested to maintain strict physical distancing. The reopened businesses must be subject to disease control measures.
Despite the government stating physical distancing must be maintained, many alcohol outlets failed to live up to requirement when they commenced selling alcohol. Many people have swarmed shops to buy and stock up alcohol with no regard to physical distancing.
They have even disregarded the current 10PM to 4AM curfew and queued up long past 10PM to buy alcohol.
Panic buying of alcohol has started to fuel fears of new COVID-19 infections.
People say they don’t have money to buy ear but have money to buy alcohol. [If] Thais are going to behave like this, there is no hope to recover,” said was expressed by people who saw a video of Thai’s crowding alcohol shops, as per, Food Navigator.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised governments to restrict access to alcohol to avoid the predictable burden such as hospitalizations due to diseases and injury resulting from alcohol, alcohol-related violence, alcohol’s effects on people’s mental health.
Alcohol can also threaten family finances which are already running low due to job loss and pay cuts arising from the lockdown measures. This would be an added stress on the Thai people.
Therefore, many provinces across the country have decided to maintain the alcohol sales ban.
Blitz: “Thai alcohol industry urges lift prohibition“
Pattaya Mail: “Thailand’s alcohol sales resume in ‘Takeout’ manner“
Bloomberg: “Thailand Relents on Alcohol Ban by Allowing Sales From Sunday“
Food Navigator: “Thailand Relents on Alcohol Ban by Allowing Sales From Sunday“