Thailand starts to ease restrictions

Let’s start by what is not changing – at least until 31 May or a future announcement.

The 10pm to 4am curfew remains in place.

No alcohol may be sold or purchased.

Quarantine restrictions remain in place for people traveling between certain provinces.

No passenger flights are allowed into Thailand with the exception of pre-approved repatriation flights.

But from Sunday 3 May certain COVID-19 control measures will be relaxed albeit with restrictions.

Eight types of venues will be allowed to resume operations, including restaurants except those in malls, department stores and supermarkets, public and private parks, hair salons and barbershops, golf courses and driving ranges as well as sports venues for running, tennis and badminton.

Fresh, floating, walking streets and flea, markets, clinics and pet grooming businesses are also on the list of businesses that can open from 3 May.

New controls require that:

At restaurants body temperature screening will be required before entry. No alcohol consumption or live bands will be allowed.

Toilets will need cleaning every hour while tables and chairs will have to be disinfected every time after each use. Air-conditioned eateries will have to open their doors and windows every two hours for cleaning and ventilation.

Restaurant employees must tie their hair and wear gloves, caps, aprons, face masks and face shields.

For hair salons and barbershops, only cut, shampoo and blow-dry will be allowed. Customers will be required to make a reservation in advance as queuing will not be allowed at the venue. Disinfection of equipment will have to take place after each use and each service can only last up to two hours before a cleaning break of at least 20 minutes.

Parks can be used for exercises that do not require social gathering such as running and cycling. Football, basketball, aerobic dance or tai chi practice will not be allowed due to potential risks of infection. A physical distance of 2m is required at these venues.

Thailand has reported a total number of cases in the country to 2,960. So far, 2,791 patients have been discharged from hospitals and 54 have died. Thailand has been reporting single-digit increase in daily new cases since Monday this week.

Local provinces are now expected to fall into line with the instructions of the Thai government – they may not go further than authorised in easing restrictions though they do not need to go as far as the central government has authorised – for instance Pattaya Beach will remain closed despite a relaxing of some restrictions from Sunday. Local authorities are worried that if they open the beach then large numbers of people would visit.

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