CCSA said bars could reopen and “business bubble” could begin in Phase 5

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Wednesday that Phase 5 of the easing period will include bars and other entertainment venues.  

Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, CCSA’s spokesperson, said the remaining businesses that are still closed, such as pubs, bars, gaming shops and large massage parlours, will be allowed to reopen in Phase 5.

The decision will be finalized on Monday, June 29, at the CCSA’s meeting.

Phase 5 will begin on July 1. 

The meeting, which usually takes place every Friday, has been moved to Monday instead because of the ASEAN meeting.

“Some measures could be changed before the CCSA’s final decision on Monday but these are the proposed measures right now,” Dr Taweesin said.

“Initial proposals for Phase 1-4 were largely unchanged in the end and the announcement today is meant for businesses to prepare themselves before the final decision is made,” he added.

Dr Taweesin also confirmed that schools will reopen with social distancing measures from July 1 onwards while department stores will be allowed to stay open past 9 p.m. in Phase 5 as well.   

For bars, the measures will include:

  1. Strict closing time at midnight throughout the nation  
  2. One meter social distancing between a four-square-meter space per customer. If not applicable, a 1.5-meter tall partisan between tables is required 
  3. Only five persons per table
  4. All staffs must wear a face mask 
  5. All customers must check in and check out with the government’s Thai Chana app. No sign in’s.
  6. Must not be crowded and must be well ventilated
  7. Customers cannot bring alcoholic drinks to the venue
  8. No serving from shared containers such as ice buckets, jugs and towers 
  9. No singing or dancing near sitting tables 
  10. Must have CCTV recording
  11. Queuing outside the venue must be one meter apart   

Dr Taweesin said these venues will be monitored by authorities with clear identification badge to prevent corruptions. 

For gaming shops, there are specific measures such as time limit based on the age of the customer, and each customer can only use one computer for up to two hours before it has to be cleaned for the next usage.

For massage parlors, the measures are similar to bars but customers can either sign in or check in with the government’s Thai Chana app.    

Thai returnees and bubbles for foreigners 

For Thai citizens, the quota of 500 returnees per day could be increased to 600.

Dr Taweesin said there are now 941 alternate state quarantine (ASQ) rooms; however, 605 rooms are still empty as of Wednesday so Thai people who can afford this option should also consider ASQ.

He added that the government is considering an “alternative local quarantine” (ALQ) for hotels that are located in provinces which have international airports beside Bangkok.

The CCSA is urging hotels to think of this option so that they can help develop the scheme with the government, he added.

For foreigners, the groups of visitors that have applied to enter Thailand but will have to be in state quarantine or ASQ for 14 days include:

  1. About 700 businesspersons and investors 
  2. About 15,400 skilled workers and experts
  3. About 2,000 foreigners with Thai family and/or have residency in Thailand  
  4. About 2,000 teachers, medical staffs and students 
  5. About 30,000 people that are looking to enter for medical purpose

These groups could be allowed to enter via the “business bubble” from July 1 onwards.

However, the government is prioritizing businesspersons and investors as they are already on the waiting list for ASQ to come in without quarantine.

For people who are looking to come for medical and wellness purposes, the provinces that are under consideration include Bangkok, Phuket, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.   

For the travel bubble, which includes tourists, a “villa quarantine” scheme is now under consideration for August 1. Under this scheme, travellers will be permitted to stay only within the limited space.

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