The festival – which the authorities cancelled for 2020 – is the country’s biggest celebration, characterised by much drinking and carousing.
As Thailand’s bars and nightclubs had been already closed for some weeks, Bangkok and several Thai provinces have gone further, banning the sale of beer, wine and spirits from off-licences and supermarkets until today, 20th April.
However the announcement had the unintended effect of creating non-social distancing crowds of last-minute shoppers rushing to get in supplies before the ban came into force.
According to a report from abc News, “At least initially, a number of the country’s virus cases were linked to parties at Bangkok nightspots.
“Most surveys put Thai alcohol consumption a bit above the global average, but far below the volumes of Eastern Europe.”
However the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association’s President Thanakorn Kuptajit has stated that the alcohol ban will only lead to drinkers driving to areas where there are no bans or purchasing from smugglers, hoarders and underground producers.