Dozens of Bangkok restaurants will stop selling alcohol for three months as their sacrifice for Buddhist Lent.
The 54 eateries are spread over 32 of the capital’s 50 districts and run from no-name family street stalls to outlets of major restaurant chains including Banana Leaf and Ootoya. The full list, in Thai, is here.
The Lent-Free Restaurant campaign is the brainchild of Bangkok’s Office of Drug Prevention and Treatment and runs from July 6 to Oct. 2. The office invited restaurateurs to abstain from selling alcohol during the three months of Buddhist Vassa to support the reduction of drinking in society and become a role-model business.
While giving up booze for Vassa, translated as lent in English, is common, the campaign is yet another sign of widening alcohol-prohibition movement in Thailand. The national Public Health Ministry delivered its own lent present Thursday, announcing it planned to ban all online liquor sales, a move blasted by the alcohol lobby.
That 54 restaurants would agree to halt booze sales for three months also baffles, considering restaurants only were allowed to start selling booze again June 15, following a three-month coronavirus-related ban. Many restaurants derive the majority of their revenue from beer, wine and spirits.
But, as the saying goes, “The is Thailand”.