Strict Thai curfew forces stores to close nationwide

Thailand’s government has imposed an overnight curfew effective tonight that will force the closure of tens of thousands of convenience stores and street vendors.

The curfew will run from 10pm to 4am. During that time all Thais and visitors to the country must remain indoors, with exceptions only for emergency services, medical workers and patients. 

Further exemptions include the transportation of goods, farm produce, medical supplies, fuel, parcels, goods destined for export or import, vehicles transporting people to quarantine sites, shift workers, and people travelling to or from airports.

People who breach the curfew face up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt40,000 (US$1200).

A majority of Thailand’s 7-Eleven stores, and rival chains, in urban areas traditionally trade 24 hours a day serving shift workers and tourists, but as of tonight, they will be forced to close.

The move follows a ban on restaurants and bars serving customers on-site and a total, indefinite liquor retailing ban in one northern province. 

Thailand’s usually vibrant tourist industry has been decimated by the coronavirus epidemic with foreigners now all but banned from entering the nation and lockdowns and social-distancing measures being enforced nationwide. 

In addition to the curfew, public transport will be suspended across Thailand from 9.30pm to 4am, from tonight onwards. 

As of Thursday, Thailand had reported 1875 cases or coronavirus and 15 fatalities.


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