Update about next easing of Lockdown

12 Feb 2021

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According to a source at the National Security Council ( NSC) meeting on Wednesday, a committee reviewing the relaxation of lockout steps has recommended expanding the operating hours of shopping malls and shortening the curfew time next month.

If the kingdom continues to log small numbers of new infections, the next stage of loosening of the coronavirus lockout may happen.

These are among the suggestions accepted at the conference, which will be forwarded for a Friday decision to the Center for Covid-19 Condition Administration (CCSA).

However, businesses and places that are at high risk for Covid-19 transmissions, such as boxing clubs and bars, will stay locked, and will be the last community to be permitted to reopen, said the source.

NSC Secretary-General Somsak Roongsita chaired the meeting on Wednesday, attended by members from agencies linked to defense, public health and the economy. 

The committee agreed after five hours that the current curfew period of 11pm-4am would be shortened by one hour — from 11pm-3am — to assist market traders who usually trade in the early hours, the source said.

The relaxation will also cover hair salons, beauty salons and massage parlours, the source said, adding that the lockdown has affected more than 50,000 massage parlours and around 200,000 massage therapists.

Many companies and locations that would also be permitted to reopen include cinemas, gyms, zoos, conference centers and gathering sites, while shopping malls operating hours will be expanded from the existing 8 pm to 9 pm, the source said.

However, these facilities and companies are expected to introduce stringent health-safety policies to avoid Covid-19 from spreading, the source stated.

After intense discussion, the committee agreed that, in the final stage of lockout relaxing, locations and companies in the high-risk region will stay closed and reopen.

They involve, the source said, boxing clubs, bars, water pool, and theme parks.

The source stated that the committee refrained from reopening boxing stadiums because public safety authorities shared fear that even though boxing matches are permitted without participants being permitted in and televised live, boxing fans would often crowd around televisions, placing them in risk.

The next relaxing stage means firms that are able to restart should be authorized to perform more operations, not restart any ones, the source added.

The source added that the committee did not draw a consensus on reopening campuses, and at Thursday's conference, it would lift the matter for consideration.

The source also said the committee had no issue with restarting inter-provincial transport, but it ordered state agencies to include information on disease prevention plans for border provinces if travel restrictions are removed.

The prohibition on entry through all networks into the country would stay in place, the source stated.

CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin said CCSA would meet on Friday to discuss the request.

He added that while new incidents are decreasing, many carriers remain asymptomatic and the people do have to obey recommendations for safety and social distancing.

Source Bangkok Post