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A carrot is being dangled at Thai people – the opportunity to celebrate Songkran in July. The international water festival, historically the culmination of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season, is normally held on April 13.
In the past decade, the phenomenon has become a global tourist attraction as it is converted from typical Buddhist festivals into coordinated water battles in Bangkok streets and tourist cities.
It was cancelled this year because the world was busy avoiding getting busy; shut up anywhere in their houses, instead of splashing water outdoors. But the government says they could still stage a Songkran festival in July, even IF this month's third step of lockout easing goes smoothly.
'Stage 3' began rolling out yesterday, opening up just about all but bars and restaurants and several other places for entertainment. Last day 16 forms of business and leisure practices resumed. The curfew was shortened every day even from 11 pm to 3 am.
Phuket seems to lag behind the rest of the world, with a ban still in effect on its beaches and airport.
Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, the CCSA spokesman, says the government may announce special public holidays in July to celebrate Songkran. Apart from all the splashing of water, the festival is the largest family get-together of the year as families go up 'up north' for massive family gatherings. The growing year the festival is still the most hazardous period on the roads of Thailand. Dr Taweesin says that the CCSA will review the effects of phase three relaxations this month, adding that ... "if the situation in Covid-19 improves satisfactorily and citizens stick strictly to the specific guidelines for social distance, daily handwashing and mask-wearing, the government could be requested to announce special public holidays in July.
We 're not sure what "satisfactorily improves" implies provided that Covid-19 hasn't registered any local transmutations for over a week. All the new cases come from Thais repatriating on specially scheduled overseas charter flights that all arrivals have to spend 14 days in controlled quarantine.
A state of emergency stays in place until at least the end of June and gives broad authority to Thai PM Prayut and his designated committee in the CCSA to resolve the Covid-19 crisis in Thailand without informing the parliament.