Government’s latest Covid-19 restrictions spark civil disobedience campaign

The hashtag #กูจะเปิดมึงจะทําไม (“We’re staying open. What are you going to do about it?”) trended on Thai social media on Wednesday following the country’s latest Covid-19 restrictions, which prohibit restaurant dine-ins and mandate a 9 pm closing time for one month.

Thailand tightened its Covid-19 restrictions from June 28 after prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declined to call for a lockdown of the capital to control the outbreak that began in April. These latest restrictions were announced in the middle of the night on June 26, prompting criticisms and complaints from citizens nationwide.

On Tuesday night, one Facebook user and restaurateur took matters into their own hands and began a campaign, which sparked the trending hashtag, calling for other restaurateurs to band together and allow customers to dine-in — with Covid-19 measures in place — despite the ban from the government.

There has been tremendous online support for the campaign, with many netizens pledging to dine at any restaurant that participates. Restaurateurs, specifically, have also chimed in to express their grievances and frustration with the government’s handling of the situation.

“We can go into the malls and walk around for hours but just can’t eat at a restaurant in there. What kind of logic is this?” asked a Twitter user.

Furthermore, many have pointed out the drastic difference between Thailand’s relief packages and cash assistance offered to its citizens in SMEs, compared to those of other countries.

Other netizens, however, have expressed their disapproval of the campaign.

“Do it, why not? Be as selfish as you can. Put even more burden on our doctors with all the people who are going to get infected. This is just going to ruin all of us in the end,” wrote one Facebook user in the comments section of the original post.

“Some places literally can’t do deliveries. Do you think [restaurateurs] want to risk getting infected or spreading the virus? There’s just no other choice for them since the government has done nothing to help them out properly,” retorted another user. “And this isn’t the first time [a ban on dine-ins] has been placed on them — it’s the fourth already. How much more do they have to sacrifice?”

At the time of writing, the hashtag has garnered nearly 65,000 tweets.

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