The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has allowed small restaurants to reopen for dine-in services since May 3. But over the past couple of days, if you had tried to dine at your favorite restaurants, you would have found that some are still not opened, while some opened briefly, but shut their doors within hours.
Simply put, many restaurateurs are confused and do not want to risk getting shut down.
Luca Appino, the Managing Partner at Bottega and Pizza Massilia Group, reopened dine-in services of his Pizza Massilia outlet on Sukhumvit Soi 49 yesterday.
Tables set according to social distancing rules. Fever checkpoint at the entrance. Staff wore masks and gloves. Luca was certain he got everything right.
On Sunday morning, he was visited by the authorities. They checked the venue and gave Appino a long list of requirements that he would have to comply with.
“For example, it says that restaurants of 200sqm are allowed to open for dine-in, but is that the entire area including the outdoor and parking, or just the dining area?” said Appino, whose restaurant is over 400sqm in total, but the dining area where people can sit and eat is only 120sqm.
“The big issue today in order to reopen is we don’t have a clear list of rules or regulations,” said Appino. “The unclear communication is what created this mess. Most restaurants that are open, they take the risk of dealing with the authorities.”
“But I don’t want to do that. I have many restaurants and I want to follow the laws, but the laws are not clear [laughs].”
Unclear rules are the exact reason why Ping’s Restaurant remained closed.
Jacqueline Sim, Managing Director at Venture Food & Restaurants, plans to open her restaurant on Asoke Road on May 5, because she wanted to first make sure what the rules are.
“It wasn’t clear, so I just wanted some time to make sure that my restaurant fits in the type of restaurants that are allowed to open,” said Sim.
“I just wanted a few days to clarify some information.”
Over at Siri House in Ploenchit, the decision was to reopen for dine-in services.
“The decision was made that the sooner we could get the restaurants open, the better. Our team needs income.,” said Adam Ivory, Operations Manager of Farandole Group, which owns Funky Lam and Luka.
But on Sunday morning, the authorities also came knocking.
“They were checking off the regulations and ensuring compliance,” said Ivory. “As we were meeting and exceeding all requirements, the process was quick and easy,”