COVID UPDATE: TOKYO RESTRICTS ON-TRADE HOURS, BANGKOK BANS ALCOHOL SALE, SINGAPORE BANS ON-PREMISE SERVICES
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Svetlana Gurnerova/Unsplash
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt alcohol markets of Asian countries. Tokyo city announced restrictions on on-trade hours, Bangkok bans all alcohol sale while Singapore bans on-premise services.
The Tokyo metropolitan government announced today the introduction of partial lockdown measures to help contain COVID-19 outbreak, after the declaration of state of emergency by the central government.
Governor Koike Yuriko requested amusement facilities, universities and schools, sports and recreation facilities, theatres, event and exhibition venues and commercial facilities to close from tomorrow.
Though catering facilities - including restaurants and Japanese-style pubs - can stay open, they can only operate between 5 am and 8 pm and have to stop serving alcohol at 7 pm.
Hospital visits and outings to buy essential items such as groceries and medications will still be allowed.
The Governor said small and mid-sized companies that fully comply with the requests will be entitled to subsidies of 500,000 yen (USD4,600). The amount will be doubled for businesses that operate multiple shops and offices.
In Thailand, the capital city Bangkok which is home to 8.3 million people, joined several other provinces to ban alcohol sale.
The ban, covers both on-trade and off-trade, will last for 10 days from today to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Thai new year holiday, Songkran, is due to start next Monday, authorities are concerned that Thailand’s home-bound citizens will gather to celebrate.
Local media reported that with Bangkok joining alcohol sale ban, roughly a quarter of Thailand’s 69 million people will be put under alcohol prohibitions.
Even before the outbreak, majority-Buddhist Thailand imposed relatively strict rules that block sales of beer, wine and spirits during specific hours.
In Singapore, the government has tightened its social distancing measures in the face of a rapid spike in coronavirus infections.
From 7 April, work from home became mandatory for all non-essential businesses while key economic sectors and essential businesses can remain open.
Restaurants can still open, only for takeaway and delivery while on-premise services are no longer allowed.
Consumers can still buy alcohol from supermarkets, and from catering businesses that are putting their wine selection up for delivery.
From 8 April, schools and other learning institutions were closed, all education are to be conducted via e-learning.
The Singapore government had earlier ordered the closure of entertainment venues like bars, nightclubs, discos, cinemas, theatres and karaoke outlets effective until 30 April.
The order also applied to conferences, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, sporting events and trade fairs.
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