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Thailand eases lockdown but noodle lovers divided by partitions

New safety guidelines discourage eateries from seating customers

Makeshift barriers protect patrons from COVID-19 at a restaurant in Bangkok on May 3. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

BANGKOK -- The streets of Bangkok hardly returned to business as usual Sunday, the first day of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions imposed in late March for such establishments as restaurants and hair salons.

"We decided to resume our dine-in service from today, because commuters would probably eat here," said Woranuch Rukchaiyaphum, shopkeeper at Thai noodle bowl stall Krua Kamrai Thong. Her shop is near the Victory Monument elevated-train station in central Bangkok. Many buses operate from nearby as well. It is an important commuting junction for Thais.

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