Mr Satit explained that his visit to Phuket was to “open a safe, confident country without COVID-19" by applying a three-point plan: through “standardization”, “building safety” and “building confidence”.
He also said he would like to see Phuket reopen and not stumble under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, “to reopen sustainable growth in tourism in tandem with controlling any outbreaks of COVID-19 infections”.
While also visiting the Wat Thep Market in Phuket Town, Mr Satit explained that “standardization” meant developing and upgrading the standards of markets through a "flea market, worth buying” campaign, and through street food, in terms of keeping the environment inside the markets clean, making sure foods sold are safe and hygienic, and building confidence among people to shop at markets.
Regarding “building safety”, he said, “Markets and street food have to strictly control the entrance and exits and make sure people clear screening points. They also must provide hand-washing facilities with soap and water or alcohol gel, wear a cloth mask or a hygienic mask correctly at all times, and keep a distance between people to reduce congestion, maintain strict personal hygiene and clean common touch points frequently.”
Regarding “building confidence”, Mr Statit noted, “Overall, 70% of market operators and vendors and street food vendors must be vaccinated and the market must assess itself through Thai Stop COVID+ measures, which have been clearly posted. We ask for cooperation from market operators and street food vendors to strictly follow such measures to build confidence among tourists.”
Mr Satit pointed out Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s comments during his visit to Phuket last Thursday (July 1), and the importance of the Phuket Sandbox reopening.
“Phuket Province is ready both physically and in terms of strategic tourism in that we must be an example for other provinces in the future. We will move forward together,” Mr Satit said.
“If there is a stumbling block, it will be a problem for the province. Therefore, we must work together. COVID-19 is a matter for everyone,” he added.
During his visit, Mr Satit did not recognise that the main municipality market in Phuket Town was shut down for a week last month while local health officials investigated a cluster outbreak of the virus.
Dr Danai Teewanda, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Health, who joined Mr Sattit during his visit, said that self-assessment reported through the Thai Stop COVID+ initiative showed that Phuket business operators had reported a high level of compliance with COVID-protection measures.
“Overall, the results show that food delivery service and tourist attractions comply with 100% of the measures, retailers and wholesalers showed 94.84% compliance, restaurants showed 82.65% compliance, fresh markets showed 81.82% compliance, and flea markets 75.47%,” Dr Danai said.
The top three most common measures upheld were registration, screening and ensuring hand-washing stations were provided, and control of the number of customers entering a venue, he added.
Businesses and market operators who had not passed the assessment were requested to improve their compliance within one to two weeks, he said.
“In addition, business operators and employees must self-assess through ‘Thai Save Thai’ [Ministry of Public health COVID-measure compliance system] to reduce the risk of infection and prevent spreading COVID-19 to family members, colleagues and the community,” Dr Danai said.