Thailand Reopens Malls After Almost 2 Months Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The deadly virus outbreak has spread to more than 170 countries and has infected over 4.4 million people worldwide

Thailand opened the malls and the departmental stores on Sunday for the first time since March in the second phase of the relaxing measures as the number of coronavirus or COVID-19 cases in the country reduced a lot.

The top mall operator of the nation, Central Pattana Pcl stated that it was going to reopen 33 of the shopping centers in the country. Central Pattana mentioned that it will control the density by allowing only a single person per square meter and make use of robots for measuring body temperatures and by using touchless elevators.

Thailand opens malls

Protest in Bangkok
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Scores of shoppers were seen queuing before entering the Iconsiam mall in central Bangkok. Customers are asked to scan a QR code and register on a government website before entering. "I want to have Japanese food today because I haven't had it for three or four months. The QR code registration is inconvenient for an elder like me," said Sa-nguan Khumrungroj, 65, at Iconsiam.

A machine sprayed disinfectant at shoppers' feet as they entered Iconsiam and another dispensed hand sanitizer. On Sunday, Thailand reported three additional coronavirus cases, in line with a trend of fewer new daily cases in May. It has reported a total 3,028 cases, with 2,856 patients having recovered and 56 deaths.

"The cases have declined a lot which I think is suitable for the mall to open because the economy has gone bad," shopper Pornchai Laochunsuwan said at Iconsiam. Thailand's government has ordered that malls will have to close by 8 p.m. and that areas, where large numbers of people could gather such as movie theatres and bowling alleys, must remain closed.

The government relaxed other measures on Sunday including shortening a nighttime curfew by one hour, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. At the end of April, the country lifted curbs on small businesses like restaurants and barbershops. On Saturday, the country's aviation regulator extended a ban on international passenger flights until the end of June.

(With agency inputs)

Related topics : Coronavirus