What does the curfew mean for Phnom Penh?


Phnom Penh is the first hotspot in Cambodia to have a curfew enforced under a new sub-decree that was signed on 31 March 2021.

On April 7th a nationwide inter-provincial travel ban was put in place for two weeks. What does this mean for businesses in the capital and countrywide? 

Phnom Penh Lockdowns COVID 19 April 2021
Photo Credit: Siv Channa (Khmer Times)

For two weeks, from April 1st 2021, the Phnom Penh Capital Administration will suspend traffic, business activities and gatherings in Phnom Penh from 8 PM to 5 AM.

Essential services and food delivery is still permissible during this two week period and a number of eateries have already responded by advertising new times and services on their social media pages in anticipation.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng has ordered all police and military police in the 14 districts of the capital to enforce the curfew.

  • Kampong Speu also issued a “Curfew Notice On Businesses” from April 2 to 15 April 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • On April 4, it was also confirmed that the busy Orrusey Market was forced to shut down for two weeks due to positive COVID-19 cases, from April 4 to 17, 2021.
  • Vendors at Old Market (Phsar Chas) in the capital also found to be positive with COVID it was reported on April 7, 2021.
  • From April 10, 2021, certain districts and even streets in the capital were locked down.
  • From April 11, 2021, Phnom Penh prohibits alcohol sales any dining in, cafes/restaurants etc – Only take-aways and deliveries are allowed until April 24 2021.
  • On April 12, 2021, Psar Chas Market (Old Market) was locked down following positive COVID-19 cases.

Updated April 12, 2021.

What does the sub-decree say?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an administrative order on “Prevention and Control of COVID-19 and Other Deadly Infectious Diseases” on March 31, 2021.

Local authorities now have the power to restrict or even prohibit residents in high-risk areas from leaving their houses or lodging.

According to Article 1 of the sub-decree  “Provisional administrative measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Phnom Penh with a duration of two weeks from the 1st to the 14th April 2021”.

As a result, according to Article 2,  business activities are temporarily suspended – these include ” food stalls, restaurants, cafes, bars and restaurants in hotels that accept customers to eat or drink alcohol between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am.” say media outlets CNE and Khmer Times.

Under Article 3 the exceptions are:

  • Gatherings of family members in the residence or who live together.
  • Funeral arrangements in accordance with the regulations and permission of the local authorities
  • Gatherings of health workers to take samples to test for COVID 19 or to take away people with COVID 19 as well as another emergency medical personnel.
  • Meetings of the authorities, command forces, administrative units at all levels to maintain security, order and public order.
  • Gathering people who are necessary to serve the public or for other purposes as determined by the local authority.

Travel to buy food and other necessities, to health facilities for medical reasons or to be tested for COVID-19, to fulfil legal and social obligations, to work (working documents are required) or for emergency reasons concerning families or relatives are also exempt reports the Khmer Times.

Article 6 adds that, except for essential industries permitted by the authorities, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, restaurants, etc., some commercial facilities may be required to be temporarily closed.

Article 11 stipulates that the blockade of cities or provinces can be decided by the government, and blockade measures cannot exceed two weeks, but the government can decide to postpone or end it early based on actual conditions.

(Sources are Phnom Penh Post, CNE and Khmer Times)

Phnom Penh Curfew April 2021 COVID-19

What are the fines for breaking the rules?

The sub-decree states that people who violate the measure shall face the penalty stated in Article 11 of the law on “Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 and other Deadly and Serious Infectious Diseases”.

These include up to a $5,000 (20,000,000 Riel) fine and five years in prison.

“The violators, however, may be pardoned or see more lenient penalty if they have informed the health workers and local official or agree to cooperate with them to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says the sub-decree.

Vehicles caught travelling in Phnom Penh in violation of curfew will be impounded, according to a directive issued by governor Khuong Sreng on April 1, 2021.  Sreng said: “We take their cars or motorcycles first. Then we allow them to self-quarantine at homes for 14 days before returning their vehicles. But in case the authorities find that they do not follow instructions, we will enforce punitive measures” reports the PP Post.

Alcohol Ban in Phnom Penh

From April 11-24 in the capital, the sale of alcohol is prohibited at all markets, supermarkets, restaurant, cafés, food stalls and shops.

In addition, all restaurants, cafés, food stores and other F&B businesses will not be allowed to provide dine-in service. Takeaways and delivery services will be allowed.

Siem Reap Curfew

On April 10, 2021, Siem Reap was also placed on a two-week curfew from April 10-23, 2021, which runs from 8 PM until 5 AM.

  • Business activities for food stalls, restaurants, cafes, bars, and hotels are temporarily suspended

Cambodia Countrywide Travel Ban April 2021

On the evening of April 6th, 2021, the government imposed an inter-provincial travel ban for 14 days until April 20th, which caught many businesses and people in Cambodia off guard. The travel between Phnom Penh and Kandal province is not affected.

How will be businesses be affected?

  • All tourist attractions in Cambodia are closed for 14 days from 6-14 April 2021.
  • The Ministry of Labour confirmed that factories and enterprises will be issued transportation passes to allow them to travel to work between provinces. (Workers must carry their staff ID card and Cambodian ID/documents).

Transport & travel is excluded for the following reasons:

  • Transportation of goods by land, sea and rail.
  • Garbage/waste trucks.
  • Transportation of workers to workplaces in factories, enterprises that must have a permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training or the Department of Labor and Vocational Training.
  • Citizens’ trip to the nearest hospital or health centre for necessary and urgent health services (limited of people – no more than 4 for each case).
  • Travel for other necessary reasons with the permission of the competent authority.

Travel of “public officials at the national level and sub-national level for the purpose of carrying out daily work by showing to the competent forces to check their work ID, mission documents and other related documents. Armed Forces for the purpose of their work are also exempt reports the Khmer Times.

Public and private hospital ambulances and Fire trucks are not affected.

See more here about the Feb 20 Phnom Penh Community incident and the vaccines in Cambodia.


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