The push follows Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last week issuing a reminder order that came into effect yesterday (June 1), confirming that face masks still must be worn in public areas at all times.
The “breaking news”, as Phuket provincial officials dubbed it in their announcement yesterday, was that face masks no longer needed to be worn while eating, drinking, exercising in a public area where people were more than two metres apart, and when identifying yourself to a police officer or government official ‒ aspects already practiced de facto for months in Phuket.
Regardless, Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan and Kathu District Chief Siwat Rawangkul led a sortie of Patong Police, Tourist Police, Kathu District officials, among other officers, along Bangla Rd last night to “remind” tourists and business operators that the face-mask rule is still in effect.
Of note, despite foreigners and bar staff seen not wearing face masks last night, there were no reports of any fines or formal warnings for failing to do so.
Venues in Phuket Town were also visited.
The June 1 order issued by Governor Narong noted that the face mask rule was especially required “in order that socio-economic activities can be continued in parallel with measures in public health and supporting the opening of the country”.
The re-issuing of the face mask order came as pubs, bars and karaokes in “blue” tourism zones throughout the country were yesterday finally allowed by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok to re-open without registering themselves as so-called “restaurants” ‒ a transition hardly noticed in Phuket as so many pubs and bars had for months already continued trading as “restaurants” long before the CCSA sanctioned the policy.
Despite local officials’ recent lack of enforcement of the face mask rule in public areas, the latest order by Governor Narong included the standard warnings that as the order is being implemented under the Emergency Decree, parties may not exercise their right to object under Section 30 paragraph two (1) of the Administrative Practices Act B.E.
Any person who violates or fails to comply with the order may be punished under Section 51 of the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558, which incurs a penalty of a fine of up to B20,000, or Section 52 of the same Act, which incurs a penalty of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to B100,000, or both.
Violators may also be punished under Section 18 of the Royal Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations, which incurs a penalty of up to two years in jail or a fine of up to B40,000, or both.