Lockdown to be eased next week

Lockdown measures will be eased next week allowing some businesses and activities to resume under strict conditions, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Friday.

The news of the easing comes after the daily number of new Covid cases has dropped to around 18,000 per day compared to 20,000 per day last week.

The new measures will come into effect on September 1.

For 29 “highly-controlled and restricted” provinces, including Bangkok, all businesses must strictly adhere to the “Covid-Free Setting” protocol to re-open.

The protocol includes the three elements of “Covid-Free Environment”, “Covid-Free Personnel” and “Covid-Free Customer”.

Covid-Free Environment means that the venue must be regularly clean and observe social distancing of 1-2 metres.

Covid-Free Personnel means all workers and service providers must be fully vaccinated and undertake a rapid antigen test (ATK) for Covid every week.

Covid-Free Customer means all customers must be fully vaccinated to required doses (for example one for Johnson & Johnson and two for AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, Sinopharm or mixed doses).

According to CCSA’s data only 6.86 million people have been vaccinated with two doses of Covid vaccine in the entire country.

If the customer is not vaccinated, they will have to show that they have contracted and recovered from Covid infection or they have to show that they have tested negative for Covid via ATK within the past seven days.

Other measures include:

  • The work-from-home model and curfew between 9 pm and 4 am will continue to be in place for at least 14 more days, starting from September 1.
  • Public transportation will resume at 75 per cent capacity and facemask must be worn at all time.
  • Traveling between provinces will be allowed but people are asked to avoid unnecessary traveling.
  • Restaurants with air condition can reopen for dining-in at 50 per cent capacity until 8 pm. Open air restaurants can open at 75 per cent capacity until the same time. They must adhere to the Covid-Free Setting protocol which means that customers have to be fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid.
  • Malls can open until 8 pm but they must adhere to the Covid-Free Setting protocol.
  • Beauty parlors or hairdressers (only for haircut and no more than one hour per person), massage parlors (only for foot massage) and beauty clinics (only for selling products) can reopen until 8 pm. All of them must adhere to the Covid-Free Setting protocol.
  • All tutoring schools, movie theaters, spas, water parks, fitness centers, swimming pools and seminars or ballrooms will remain closed.
  • School buildings may reopen, and on-site schooling will be permitted as long as permission from related agencies is obtained.
  • Open-air parks may reopen but without group activities. Sports stadiums may reopen but without spectators. All must close before 8 pm.
  • A maximum of 25 people will be allowed at public gatherings.
  • Entertainment venues will continue to be close.

The 29 affected provinces are Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, Yala, Kanchanaburi, Tak, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Lopburi, Sing Buri, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Suphan Buri and Ang Thong.

For 37 provinces in the next category down of “highly-controlled”, there is no curfew, people can travel between provinces, gatherings are permitted up to 50 people, restaurants can open until 11 pm but they cannot serve alcohol, malls can open but they cannot hold promotional events, other businesses are open, schools can open, and parks must be close at 9 pm. The Covid-Free Setting will only apply to businesses and activities with a high risk of infection.

For the 11 provinces labelled simply as “controlled”, there is no curfew, people can travel between provinces, no gatherings of more than 100 people, restaurants can open at normal hours but still no alcohol, everything else can open normally but fun parks and gaming arcades in malls must remain close. The Covid-Free Setting will only apply to businesses and activities with a high risk of infection.

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