Thailand’s government on Friday asked its citizens not to travel home for this weekend’s extended holiday after its decision to not postpone the four-day holiday backfired massively.
Coronavirus infection rates had been lowering for the past two weeks with Friday the fifth day in a row that new infections remained in the single digits.
The government had announced an easing of lockdown restrictions due to the lowering numbers and that it would not be postponing the four day holiday this weekend which started on Friday with labour day and extended to Tuesday because of coronation day.
As a result, thousands of Thais used the opportunity to escape Bangkok and return to their home provinces or to take a brief holiday. Social media and local media photographs showed traffic jams extending tens of kilometres along major highways out of Bangkok.
The government released a proclamation in the Royal Gazette on Friday evening asking Thais to not travel between provinces and to postpone travel plans immediately to limit the possibility of a second wave of infections.
Alcohol ban rescinded
The government also announced late Friday to rescind a alcohol ban that was due to extend until the end of May. The order, published in the Royal Gazette, said that the sale of alcohol can resume on May 3rd.
“The sales of alcohol is permitted but only for takeaway option,” the statement read.
In addition, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced on Thursday that six groups of businesses and public activities will reopen from May 3 onwards.
These establishments will be monitored for 14 days after reopening. If the rate of confirmed cases continues to decrease, the government may ease more lockdown measures.
These six groups include:
- Community, fresh and flea markets
- Street vendors, restaurants and dessert shops outside of department stores
- Supermarkets, small retail stores and sitting areas at local stores
- Activities at parks, such as walking and Tai Chi. Outdoor exercises and individual sports are permitted, such as tennis, badminton, shooting range, bicycle tracks, training fields, and golf courses. But team sports are still prohibited.
- Hairdressers and barbers for cutting, cleaning, and drying only.
- Pet grooming places