Thailand: Easing of restrictions to vary in different Covid control zones

Authorities plan to keep greater Bangkok zoned red for maximum Covid-19 control, but restrictions on business and activities could be eased to varying degrees in other areas next month, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the CCSA’s sub-committee on easing business and activity restrictions decided on Wednesday that Bangkok and the adjacent provinces of Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani should remain maximum control zones because of their high numbers of new coronavirus cases.

The harshest restrictions will remain in Samut Sakhon, where businesses to remain closed include entertainment places, boxing stadiums, indoor gymnasiums, cockfighting and bullfighting rings, amulet markets, spa and Thai traditional massage parlours, schools, playgrounds, amusement parks, game arcades, internet shops, party venues, traditional activities and public transport terminals, under the recommendations.

Actiivities that will be allowed to resume in Samut Sakhon will be flea markets, restaurants for take-outs, with the closing at 9pm, shopping centres and department stores, with closing time at 9pm, nurseries, elderly care centres with residents, and premises and factories with workers being traced.

Schools will remain closed in Samut Sakhon but willbe able to reopen elsewhere, Dr Taweesilp said.

Schools in Bangkok and other adjacent provinces will be subject to special disease control measures including social distancing, online education and alternation of in-class hours.

For Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, entertainment places will remain closed. Restaurants will be allowed to open until 11pm. Customers can sit if social-distancing is observed. Alcoholic drinks will be sold. Music performances will be allowed, but dancing prohibited.

Restrictions will be further eased in other provinces, Dr Taweesilp said.

Twenty provinces near greater Bangkok will be control zones  – 12 provinces in the Central Plains and the North, and eight eastern provinces.

Seventeen provinces farther from greater Bangkok will be close surveillance zones — six northern provinces, three northeastern provinces and eight provinces in the Central Plains and the South.

Thirty-five other provinces farther North, in the Northeast and the South will be surveillance zones.

Gambling will continue to be prohibited nationwide. Bathing and sex massage parlours will be allowed to reopem, but with limited customer numbers in close surveillance and surveillance zones.

Spas and Thai traditional massage parlours will be allowed to reopen, with restrictions, in provinces except Samut Sakhon, under the recommendations, Dr Taweesilp said.

The reviewed disease control zones and measures were for implementation next month, and will be proposed to the CCSA for approval on Friday, he said.