Pools and some gyms can open starting Sunday, May 17th-but VERY strict rules apply

Bangkok-

At a press conference in Bangkok this afternoon announcing some limited relaxation of restrictions and easing of lockdown measures in Thailand that were meant to control the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, led by government spokesperson Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, several areas and items were named and flagged for re-opening.

One of those, in a bit of a surprise after being told earlier in the week they would not re-open in this phase, was swimming pools, likely driven by a high number of complaints and criticism online, especially with beaches also closed for swimming.

Swimming pools may re-open effective Sunday, May 17th, but there are rules that were not in place before. These include the following:

-A Staff member MUST be on duty at all times. If the staff member is a lifeguard, they must also be responsible for social distancing and to ensure people do not gather or socialize around the pool.

-Swimmers need to stay in their own lanes and games or pool activities, like water volleyball, etc, are forbidden.

-The pool should be for exercise, not for sunbathing, socializing, drinking, eating, drinking, parties, gathering, etc. Gatherings and parties remain strictly against the Emergency Decree rules in place in Thailand to stop the potential spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

-Time limits should be in place for swimmers, no more then one hour.

The Pattaya News Notes that individual condo management can still choose to keep pools closed, at their discretion, especially if they do not have staff available to watch the pool, per the rules, and ensure social distancing.

As for Gyms, the statements released still are vague in places and will be clarified in the final order released in the Royal Gazette, either tonight or tomorrow, but the preliminary announcement and list stated the following:

-Fitness Centers in Malls must remain closed

-A lot of the emphasis seemed to be on condo or small gyms. It is not completely clear if large fitness centers will be allowed to open and this will be clarified in the final Royal Gazette order.  Ones in malls were specifically stated to remain closed. We suggest local gym or business owners unsure if they can reopen to call the local City Hall contact center at 1337 and ask.

-Free weights only.

-No classes, group activities, boxing,  etc

-No use of equipment like treadmills or stationary bikes

-Limit of three people at a time in areas, although some activities like table Tennis, Yoga, Badminton, Cross Fencing and gymnastic are allowed.

This is a developing story. Details could be changed or added before the final order from the Thai Government and is currently based on the announcements made at today’s press conference and slide shows that were displayed. It is also worth noting that provincial governors have the ability, if they choose, to strengthen rules and could prohibit some, or all of these items to re-open, at their discretion. They do not have the authority, however, to relax or loosen rules under the current Emergency Decree laws.

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