Curfew in Phnom Penh – what do we know?

A curfew in Phnom Penh and other parts of Cambodia has been announced, but where is it in force, and how much do we actually know about it?

Until the February 20th life in Cambodia had been relatively normal. Cases of Covid-19 had been measured in the hundreds and things were nice. Sadly things have changed and they have changed quickly. As of now there are nearly 2500 cases, and life is moving decidedly to a less normal setting.

To read about the normality of life click here.

To read about the February 20th incident click here.

PM signs sub-decree on restrictions in high-risk Covid-19 areas

As of March 31st the Cambodian PM has signed a “sub-decree” which will bring in an 8pm – 5am curfew, specifically in areas at high-risk of Covid-19. Where are these areas? A good question, and one we will get to in due course.

Essentially what has actually happened is that the governors of Phnom Penh and the provinces have been given broad sweeping powers to issue the preventive measure to contain the spread of coronavirus within their territories.

To quote the decree;

“Governors of Phnom Penh and provinces/cities are handed the authority to take measures in some parts of areas in their territories, where there is a high risk for COVID-19 spread,”

Cambodian government source

It further added that these powers were to be given initially for two weeks.

Curfew in Phnom Penh from April 1st

Sadly not an April Fools joke, but reality. The Governor of Phnom Penh has used his powers to to suspend traffic, including business activities, gatherings in Phnom Penh at night from 8 pm to 5 am for two weeks. Technically at least these should end just before Khmer New Year, although the chances of that happening seem to be slim.

Curfew in Phnom Penh
A Kork Khleang Village at Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh closed after finding a man works at N8 Entertainment Club. Kohsante Pheap

What are the rules of the curfew?

Article 8 of the decree sets this out, and it should be noted that it is the first of its kind in Cambodia.

To quote it;

“All kinds of allowable travelling … are prohibited from 20:00 pm (8pm) to 5:00 am, except for emergency health reasons or emergency situations concerning family, logistics, work for the public good and travelling to work at the places which are allowed to stay open,”

Article 8 of government sub-drecree

It further goes on to summarize that all private places of business are to close during these times, aside from essential services. Thus all travel bar essential travel under certain circumstances is also to be stopped during this period.

So, if it os not essential travel that fits into specific criteria than you can’t do it.

Phnom Penh curfew – can I still get food delivered?

Technically yes you can, and indeed if you need food you probably should. Not only to help local businesses, but also to help reduce contact with people.

Although the caveat here is that if restaurants/private enterprises are being asked to close before 8pm, then will they still be open to make deliveries? As things stand it is very grey, but work on the theory of ordering your food by 7pm.

How to survive the curfew in Phnom Penh?

Firstly lets put things in perspective, the curfew is far tamer than ones that have been in other countries, such as the UK. We are still allowed to go out in the day time to get provisions, and for those inclined still exercise.

All that is being taken away, and again only for two weeks is our ability to have a “night out”. A real tiny price to pay if the measures have the desired affect and stop the spread of Covid-19.

Hopefully, see you in two weeks, depending on how the curfew in Phnom Penh plays out

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