City Hall to Allow Dining In, 1,053 Vehicles Confiscated in Capital Curfew

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A local official hands papers explaining measures to close down dine-in at restaurants to food vendors near Phnom Penh’s Phsar Kabko, on July 30, 2021. (Keat Soriththeavy/VOD)
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Phnom Penh Municipal Police say officers will get serious about enforcement of the capital’s curfew starting tonight, after meting out only “soft punishments,” including confiscating 1,053 vehicles, over the first four days of renewed Covid-19 restrictions.

However, City Hall also announced Tuesday evening that restaurants would now be permitted to stay open for dining in if they follow Health Ministry safety precautions.

In a statement issued around 5:40 p.m., City Hall said restaurants that ensure health safety can be open for customers for dining by following Health Ministry guidelines. They must especially be mindful of maintaining enough distance between customers, the statement said. Alcohol sales at restaurants remain prohibited, and restaurants must still follow curfew restrictions, it said.

The government has pushed for curfews across the country in hopes of preventing the spread of the Delta virus, which has been found in many workers returning from Covid-stricken Thailand. Several cases have been found in Phnom Penh, leading to small-scale street closures in Toul Kork and Russei Keo districts.

On Tuesday, Phnom Penh police spokesperson San Sokseyha said officers had confiscated 1,053 cars and motorbikes in the first four days for curfew violations, though 307 of them had already been returned after paying a fine. More than 700 vehicles are still at district stations, he said.

“For the four days, this was the first stop and soft punishments for those people, without arresting them,” Sokseyha said. Fines are typically $50 for motorbikes and $250 for cars.

Enforcement would become more strict tonight, both for curfew violations and bars and restaurants defying restrictions, he said.

“Under orders from Phnom Penh City Hall, for any places like restaurants or bars, offenses under the new restrictions would face severe fines or legal actions like the closure of their businesses.”

Curfews are currently in place from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited.

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