The Royal Gazette late last night, August 28th, officially announced the relaxation of Covid-19 preventive measures including the reopening of restaurant businesses in the 29 dark-red zone provinces, following a previous announcement from the CCSA on Friday, August 27th.
The readjustment of Covid-19 measures in the maximum and strict controlled provinces under the supervision of the Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee and the Provincial Communicable Disease Committee is in order to comply with the conditions and regulations prescribed by the government.
According to the announcement, schools or educational institutions are allowed to use their buildings or place for teaching, training, or any activities with a large number of participants(maximum in dark red zones is now 25, up from 5) under the responsibility of representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Science Research, and Innovation or related agencies in accordance with the specified rules. (This is essentially to allow for testing, teachers to work from the school, etc. Regular “in-person” school reopening is not taking place yet in dark red provinces-editor)
Restaurants and similar places for selling food and beverages can be opened no later than 8:00 PM., with a limited number of customers dining in. Air-conditioned restaurants can open for not more than 50 percent of their capacity. Outdoor restaurants, including local restaurants and food stalls, must limit the dine-in customers to not more than 75 percent of their capacity. This measure shall apply to restaurants located in shopping malls, department stores, community malls, and other similar establishments. Selling and drinking alcoholic beverages are still prohibited during the service.
TPN media notes the Royal Gazette made no direct mention of the previously announced “pilot program” around requiring all staff AND customers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, take a negative test within 72 hours, or recovered from Covid-19 within 3 months. However, they did state (see bottom of this article) that all prescribed measures from the Ministry of Public Health around “Universal Prevention” must be followed as directed by local authorities. “Universal Prevention” is the name of the pilot program that contains these rules.
Statements from the Department of Disease Control in Bangkok today seem to suggest this will be the responsibility of the provincial disease committees to roll out and enforce, while also stating that in terms of rapid antigen test kits for regular testing of staff and optional testing of customers that this would be a “request” for cooperation rather than an “order” due to lack of supplies of the kits. It is unclear as of right now if the vaccination requirement will be enforced or is also a request, more information should be released by each province’s governor and communicable disease committee.
Provincial governors will likely release their specific orders over the next several days. They have the ability to strengthen rules, but not to relax them. We will provide a detailed article about the Chonburi Governor’s orders when the order is released.
You can read our thoughts about this proposed vaccination requirement (only for dark red zones) by clicking here.
Beauty establishments and beauty salons may be operated for hairdressing only. Health establishments or massage parlors can only provide foot massage services. Flea markets are allowed to be operated until 8:00 PM. for consumer goods only.
Department stores, shopping centers, community malls, or other similar establishments can also open from their usual business hours until 8:00 PM. Aesthetic clinics and beauty salons can be opened and provided service through an appointment. The service time in beauty salons is limited to no more than 1 hour per person.
Educational institutions, theaters, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, cinemas, theme parks, water parks, fitness centers/gyms, game centers, and convention halls in and out of shopping malls will remain closed.
Parks, sports fields, pools for sports or recreational water activities, public swimming pools, and other outdoor exercise facilities located outdoors can be carried out no later than 8:00 PM. Competitions can be staged without spectators in the stadium. (There are still some questions around pools in general, these should be answered by provincial orders. Golf was not specifically mentioned although is normally considered an outdoor exercise field and will likely be allowed to open-editor)
A mandatory curfew from 9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M. and limited travel restrictions will continue to take place until at least September 14th in the dark red zones. Private entrepreneurs must acknowledge and increase the precautions to protect themselves and their customers to the highest level by abiding by the Universal Prevention for Covid-19 measures as prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health.
The relaxation will be implemented from September 1st onwards. A review of the order has been stated by the CCSA to take place around September 14th.
TPN media notes that the DDC also stated that the current “plan” is to continue to ease restrictions as vaccinations increase as part of the countries plan of “Living with Covid-19.” This plan will likely last up until December when officials state the current roadmap is to have all business sectors and restrictions eased around this timeframe.
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