The following is our weekly feature in which we take a look at the top developing stories and things to follow over the next week. We are focusing on what is happening for the second week of October, ending October 16th, 2021.
First, for those who prefer video news, here is a video version of this story or keep scrolling for the article:
As we publish dozens of stories a week, this allows our readers to get a quick glimpse of the most important stories taking place in Thailand and Pattaya and to monitor and follow for the week ahead, as chosen by our editorial team.
Let’s get right into it:
1. Vaccination of children and teenagers 12-17 continue in Thailand and Chonburi
Thailand is steadily vaccinating students the age of 12-17 nationwide, including right here in Chonburi and Pattaya, with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the Ministry of Public Health and the Thai Education Minister, more than 80% of parents of students in this age group have consented to allow their children to have a Covid-19 vaccine.
TPN media notes this is not mandatory to return to school, and officials with the Education Ministry have stressed this time and again to overcome potential opponents. School has been out, for the most part, in the majority of Thailand for in-person learning since April of this year, six months in a row.
The Education Ministry is hoping to allow students to return to in-person schooling in November once the current vaccination campaign is concluded and if provincial communicable disease committees agree. The vaccination program is only part of an overall safety plan for schools involving social distancing, smaller classes, possibly staggered days, and other rules to safely get kids back to schools.
2. Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to review Covid-19 restrictions this week
The CCSA is set to hold one of their two major monthly meetings later this week, tentatively set for around October 14th.
This meeting will be discussing many things, including possibly reopening Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and others (See point 3) but will also be reviewing the past several weeks of eased restrictions around cinemas, gyms, and some other items.
Of particular interest in most of our readers will be if there will be any consideration of easing or even lifting of the current despised (based on reader feedback) 10:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M. curfew, which was promised to be reviewed at this meeting.
It is also possible the CCSA looks at the entertainment, pub, and nightlife industry which, like schools, has been shuttered for six months also. Alcohol remains banned at restaurants across the country with the exception of a few “tourist sandbox” zones such as Phuket, Koh Samui, and Khao Lak. The good news is that easing the restrictions on alcohol here did NOT seem to raise Covid-19 cases or cause major clusters. In fact, Phuket seems to be flattening overall, according to their health officials.
Stay tuned for this week’s meeting.
3. Will we get more information on Pattaya “reopening” in November?
It is possible, although more likely to be near the very end of the month and the CCSA’s second scheduled major meeting around October 25th.
By reopening, of course, we specifically mean allowing vaccinated foreign tourists to visit Pattaya without a strict “stay in room” quarantine for the first time in 20 months, although they will have rules to follow such as staying in the Pattaya area for seven days, agreeing to be tracked through a mobile app, multiple Covid-19 tests, mandatory insurance, and staying in certain hotels.
TPN media gets many messages and emails every day about this topic and we have discussed it extensively and won’t do so in this editorial, you can reference the link below for more information.
In a nutshell, the proposal is to make Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, and Cha-Am areas similar to the Phuket Sandbox. There will, of course, still be rules and it is unknown, as point 2 stated, if bars and nightlife will be allowed to open which is important to many Pattaya visitors.
It’s important to remember despite all the hype and many articles from all sorts of media that this is STILL a proposal and could very well be denied by the CCSA. This is why “official” information about how to come is simply not out there. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is confident the plan will take place but we want to ensure our readers are aware that it is not a final guarantee at this point.
That is all for this week. Have a very safe week ahead and take care of yourselves!
Adam and team