Eased Restrictions Towards Country Reopening
The COVID-19 situation in Thailand has been steadily improving. The government has, thus, allowed the resumption of certain establishments and activities. The resumption must, however, conform to the disease control and prevention measures announced earlier, such as Universal Prevention for COVID-19, COVID-free Setting, Smart Control and Living with COVID – 19 which are aimed at driving the economy, raising the understanding of the situation, restoring living condition close to normalcy. They are all in line with the planned reopening of the country.
In this respect, the Prime Minister has issued the regulations and directives, the key issues of which are shortening of curfew hours, reducing the number of city in maximum controlled area and strict zone, increasing maximum attendance at events held in each zone and allowing the organisation of meetings and seminars. In response, Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has announced new rules allowing domestic flight to operate at full seating capacity.
All are effective 16 October onwards until further notice. The details are as follows:
1. Entry into the pilot tourism provinces
The government has announced the directives as stated in the regulation no. 16 dated 14 October 2021 allowing the travel into the pilot tourism provinces to benefit the economy, tourism or other activities as specified in the government’s policy. The travellers must undergo RT-PCR testing twice. The first test occurs on the first day of entry and the travellers are prohibited to travel outside the hotels or accommodation until negative test result is confirmed. The second test is due on the 6th or 7th day of their stay in Thailand or the test is undertaken in line with the criteria set up by the Ministry of Public Health since 1 October until further notice.
2. Adjustment of city/provincial zoning to fit the situation
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has made zoning adjustment as follows;
- Maximum controlled area and strict zone in 23 provinces - Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Tak, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nonthaburi, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Prachinburi, Pattani, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Yala, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Songkhla, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon and Saraburi
- Maximum controlled zone in 30 provinces - Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Chumphon, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Trang, Trat, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phatthalung, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Maha Sarakham, Ranong, Lopburi, Sisaket, Satun, Sa Kaeo, Singburi, Suphan Buri, Suratthani, Surin, Ang Thong, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani
- Controlled zone in 24 provinces - Krabi, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Buengkan, Buriram, Phang-Nga, Phrae, Phayao, Phuket, Mukdahan, Mae Hong Son, Yasothon, Roi Et, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Sakon Nakhon, Sukhothai, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Uttaradit, Uthaithani and Amnat Charoen
In line with zoning adjustment, the earlier announced integrated control measures designed to fit different levels of the situation in each area will be enforced as long as they do not contradict with this regulation.
3. Prohibition of activities posing infection risk
The limit on the number of persons attending events in each zone is adjusted as follows;
1) Maximum controlled area and strict zone – gathering of over 50 persons is prohibited
2) Maximum controlled zone – gathering of over 100 persons is prohibited
3) Controlled zone – gathering of over 200 persons is prohibited
4) High surveillance zone – gathering of over 300 persons is prohibited
5) Surveillance zone – gathering of over 500 persons is prohibited
Prohibition of activities posing infection risk, permission request procedures, granting of permission and crowd-gathering activities that can be held without permission request as stated in no. 4 and no. 5 of the regulation no. 30 dated 1 August 2021 remain in effect.
4. Adjustment of ban on leaving residence in maximum controlled area and strict zone
Leaving residence between 23.00 hrs. and 03.00 hrs. of the next day is prohibited until 31 October 2021. Terms and conditions allowing the authorities and exempted persons to perform their duties as stated in earlier announcement remain in effect.
5. Enforcement of integrated control measures in maximum controlled area and strict zone
Establishments, enterprises or activities allowed to operate according to the earlier announcement can continue their operation. In this connection, provincial communicable disease committee is assigned to supervise and monitor the aforementioned operation to ensure that entrepreneurs or responsible persons make preparation of their sites, examine ventilation system, taking charge of the preparation of their staff, and comply with the conditions, arrangement and established disease control measures, including any measures enforced in a specific area or matter. The details are as follows:
1) Establishments, enterprises or activities allowed to operate under certain duration condition can operate their normal hours until 22.00 hrs., such as food and drink outlets, cinemas, theaters, department stores, sport venues, public parks.
2) Convenience stores, fresh markets, periodic markets can trade their products of all types in normal operating hours until 22.00 hrs. In case there is play equipment, provincial communicable disease committee will exercise judgment as deemed appropriate for its operation. Convenience stores operating at night must close between 22.00 hrs. and 03.00 hrs. of the next day.
3) Elderly-care centres can operate without overnight stay and are subject to the permission of provincial communicable disease committee. The clients and the staff of the centres must receive full vaccination and the responsible persons of the centres must make random test every week with SARS-CoV- 2 Antigen Self-Test or with other methods as required by the authorities in order to confirm negative results.
4) Hotels, exhibition centres, convention centres, exhibition halls or similar establishments can provide services for meetings, seminars or customary events until 22.00 hrs. However, they must conform to COVID Free Setting, such as limit on attendance, required mask wearing at all time, breaking period for air ventilation inside the room, separate meal set, social distancing, and strict adherence to the guidelines developed by the Ministry of Public Health and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau(TCEB).
5) Department stores, shopping centres, community malls or similar establishments can provide service for meetings, seminars or customary events until 22.00 hrs. They must conform to COVID Free Setting as stated in 4). But sale promotion activities, game arcades, amusement parks and water parks remain prohibited.
6. Public transport
Measures to limit the number of passengers as stated in the announcement no. 7 in the regulation no. 32 dated 28 August 2021 can be relaxed for all types of passenger transport in maximum controlled area and strict zone and all types of cross-provincial public transport throughout the country. The operators or responsible persons must abide by established public health measures that fit the vehicles and condition of travel.
The Ministry of Transport, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and provincial authority or responsible agencies must supervise and examine public transport of all types in the maximum controlled area and strict zone, including all types of cross-provincial public transport throughout the country. They must ensure that such transport is operated in line with the directives established by the operation center of the Center of COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the service is sufficient and appropriate for the public.
7. Performing duties outside workplace in maximum controlled area and strict zone
Government agencies and private sector organisations can operate at full capacity outside their usual workplace. Their operation must not affect their public service obligation.
8. Relaxation of measures for certain establishments and activities
1) Game arcades or play equipment stations located in department stores, shopping centres, community malls or similar establishments outside maximum controlled area and strict zone can operate their service but for one single player or two only. The players must wear face masks all the time. Amusement parks and water parks remain closed.
2) Public parks, sporting grounds, gyms, fitness centers or exercising venues of all types located in maximum controlled zone can operate normally until 22.00 hrs.
9. Preparation for future easing of lockdown measures for certain establishments
Establishments providing service as entertainment venues, pubs, bars and karaoke outlets remain close throughout the country. The entrepreneurs or responsible persons should make preparation to improve the environment and venues and make their staff well-equipped so that risk of transmission and infection can be reduced. For example, good ventilation or air purification, full vaccination for their staff and compliance with the measures, suggestions and guidance of the authorities. The Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and concerned agencies must take joint actions to prepare themselves for the supervision of the establishments’ compliance with the established measures. This is to make preparation for future relaxation when the circumstances are appropriate and when it is in line with the plan and timeline of the government.
New rules for domestic flights
In response to the government’s new regulation, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has announced new rules for domestic flight operation as follows:
1. Airlines must limit flight operation during new curfew time which is between 23.00 hrs. and 03.00 hrs. of the next day. The rule aims to lessen the impacts that may occur to passengers when they travel from airport to their residence during such time. Also, this rule is in line with other modes of public transport, whose operation adheres to new curfew time.
2. Airlines can service at full seating capacity of each flight. The seating in the cabin should be properly arranged to meet disease control and prevention measures of the Ministry of Public Health.
Effective 16 October onwards until further notice.
Further information about COVID-19 outbreak from WHO
Department of Disease Control Contact Centre (Call 1422 24/7)
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) (Call +66 (0) 2694 6000)