They obviously want to avoid this again as anti-social distancing is still in force.
I understand what you're saying, although to me it would make more sense if alcohol was allowed only in restaurants. At least, if nothing else, restaurants can enforce social distancing. They could also impose some sort of rules that limit how much time people can stay in a restaurant or how many drinks can be served. In other words, it seems to me it would be easy enough for the powers-that-be to come up with regulations that would prevent people from sitting there drinking as if they were in a pub.
I don't see how buying liquor would stop people from congregating elsewhere, such as their own homes. On my own street almost every evening a group of about 6-8 Thais sit for hours, drinking and socializing at a table just outside of their house, and they're much closer together than a meter apart. I would imagine a great many people will be doing something similar.
It reminds me of my old university days - a lifetime ago. Near the end of the school year we would all go to our annual farewell party at large restaurant with a basement dining room. One year our fraternity president showed up with something in a large paper bag. Before letting him go down to the basement the hostess asked, "Is that beer in your bag?"
He responded, "No ma'am it is not."
I guess that was good enough for her. She did not ask to inspect the contents of the bag. When he came down to the basement he opened the bag. He did not lie. It wasn't beer. It was 3 six-packs - of ale . . .
There's several reports on Thai social media of aggressive panic buying for the first 11am-2pm buying window today. One rather funny video with a hand truck putting out a pallet of Leo beer and everyone ascending on it, pushing and shoving and in a few minutes all that's left is an empty pallet. 5pm to midnight is the next window if supply hold up.
Went to my distributor on Soi 17 behind TukCom an all was calm and bought 4 liters of Absoult incase the powers to be declare prohibition again. No lines and several folks stopped by to ask if they were open.
I was at Macro Ramintra here in the residential burbs of Bangkok and all was calm but really busy. There was a serpentine beer line. Get a shopping cart or trolley get enter one side. On the opposite side is the supply side with pallet after pallet being delivered. Load up and proceed to special check out. No limits and most everyone was buying huge quantities. It took around an hour from entering the line to paying and finding the exit. Not sure why I bothered but I did not have something better to do.
Huge demand but huge supply. A few empty shelves on some items. It was all orderly.
This video was taken just today at Makro, by Pattaya News - the first day liquor is being sold again.
Anyone want to be out on the roads tonight? I just hope the headlines won't be full of drunk driving accidents and deaths tomorrow.
Chonburi residents rush to purchase alcohol as sales open for the first time in weeks
By Adam Judd
Sunday, 3 May 2020
Local residents flocked to supermarkets and department stores this morning, some lining up well in advance of the legal selling time of alcohol at 11:00 AM, to purchase alcohol today across the province of Chonburi after the national and local government allowed sales for the first time in about three weeks.
The ban on alcohol sales has been an area of contention for days now as the Thai government has seemingly gone back and forth on whether to sell alcohol or not several times despite the majority of the public seeming to be against the ban based on vehement social media comments.
However, the Thai Government decided to reverse any national ban over the weekend and allowed provincial governor’s to make the decision on if they would allow sales of alcohol once more. Some provinces kept the alcohol ban, like Sa Kaeo and Buriram, but Chonburi decided to allow sales.
The decision came nearly last minute with a post at 6:30 AM this morning from Chonburi Public Relations stating no decision had no yet been made. However, at around 10:00 AM orders were published allowing the sale.
The reason for the ban, according to authorities, was concern over people throwing parties and having gatherings which could potentially spread the Covid19 Coronavirus.
Hundreds crowded into local stores, raising concerns online about physical distancing, as people stormed the stores to purchase booze. Many were apparently small shop owners restocking their own shops after weeks of no deliveries or sales being allowed.
Sales of alcohol are for take away only and one cannot drink in restaurants which also opened today, at least in terms of smaller venues. Public drinking also remains against the law at this time and people can only drink from the comfort of their own home.
Liquor sections at supermarkets and convenience stores on Sunday were thronged with customers eager to buy alcoholic beverages after sales resumed for the first time in almost a month.
Shops across the country saw people buying beer, wine and whiskey in bulk as the clock reached 11am, the earliest time alcoholic beverages can legally be sold.
Boxes of beer at the Makro cash-and-carry store in Srinakarin area in Muang district of Samut Prakan were rushed to checkout counters in the first five minutes. Liquor departments in other stores saw customers forming long queues to quench their thirst.
"The shop has to urgently get more beer and whiskey as they are running out of stock," Pratheep Wicchaphin, owner of Hok Kee, a wholesale shop in Phimai district of Nakhon Ratchasima said.
Sales of alcoholic beverages are now permitted under measures to ease the lockdown -- but buyers are only allowed to drink at home.
"There have been no customers since the ban began," said Darunee Raksai, who bought beer and whiskey at Hok Kee to resell at his shop at Ban Tanong in Phimai.
Not all provinces have lifted the ban; the decision is left up to provincial governors, who m ay continue it if they fret about possible Covid-19 transmission at drinking gatherings.
Buri Ram, Chanthaburi, Lop Buri, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Phanom, Phetchaburi, Phitsanulok and Rayong are among the provinces where the ban remains in force. The period of the ban varies depending on the judgement of the governor.
Although buyers cannot drink in restaurants and shops, some places on Sunday defied the order issued by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
Trakul Nunil, the Sahatsakhan district chief in Kalasin, on Sunday ordered four floating restaurants in Lampao dam to close after they sold alcoholic beverages to customers.
Authorities raided the rafts and ordered clients to pay their bills and leave after they found some were drinking beer or whiskey.
The restaurants defied the order not to sell alcoholic beverages, the district chief said.
Based on the rush on liquor and beer both yesterday and today, I'd be surprised if there is any alcohol left to sell . . .
I stopped at Villa Market in Little Walk (off of Sukhumvit) yesterday, 4th May - it was between 11am & 2pm - they were selling alcohol (no restriction for Chakri Day holiday). They had plenty available, and no crowds - only difference from past visit was only one cashier open (few people, I didn't have to wait with only one customer behind me).
As on my previous visit, they have a security guard at inside entrance to the store who takes your temperature and provides hand gel to use before entering.
Some items in the frozen food section I wanted and had gotten on past trips were not available - a few frozen food cases were empty. They have had hand gel available to use after opening cases, etc. if you wished to use.