Thailand Plans to Ban Alcohol Online Sales
Thailand plans to ban online sale of alcohol after reports of increased underage alcohol use during COVID-19.
As Movendi International previously reported, the Thai government banned alcohol sales in April 2020 and lifted the ban in May 2020 along with other relaxations of the COVID-19 restrictions. Initially the government had planned to extend the alcohol ban till May 31, but decided to lift the ban in the face a lobbying onslaught of the alcohol industry.
Thailand has a comprehensive alcohol policy system which regulates alcohol sale hours and store density, bans alcohol sale in certain areas near schools and parks and implements a legal age for alcohol use of 20 years.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after aggressive lobbying by the alcohol industry, certain alcohol stores started online delivery of alcohol. This has made it difficult to enforce the existing alcohol laws such as the legal age limit.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the sale of beverages online has increased and there were promotions that did not regulate age and location, making it difficult to enforce existing laws,” said Satit Pitutacha, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, as per Reuters.
The new regulations would come into effect this year and carry a maximum fine of 10,000 baht ($320) and up to six months in prison.
Considering that alcohol increases the risk of COVID-19 and its complications, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised governments to restrict alcohol availability. Online sale and delivery of alcohol makes alcohol more accessible and many countries that have allowed alcohol online delivery are facing serious alcohol harm (examples: California, USA, Kenya, Australia).