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Masses venture out as Phuket shopping malls re-open

Masses venture out as Phuket shopping malls re-open

PHUKET: More than 30,000 people were recorded as visiting the Central Festival and Central Phuket Floresta shopping malls from 11am to 8pm yesterday (May 17) as Phase 2 of the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions came into effect, allowing scores of businesses across the island to re-open.

By The Phuket News

Monday 18 May 2020, 12:43PM

The easing of restrictions, confirmed on Friday, saw the sales of food and drinks allowed to resume in restaurants, food courts, cafeterias and eateries, excluding pubs and bars and drinking of alcohol.

Shopping malls, department stores and community malls are allowed to stay open until 8pm.

Also allowed to resume operations are retail and wholesale shops, limited meeting services at meeting rooms in hotels or convention centres, beauty clinics, cosmetic clinics and manicure shops, both inside and outside shopping malls.

Fitness centres outside shopping malls, department stories or community malls can resume operations only for yoga or free weight sections. Other exercise equipment, treadmills, cycling machines or group exercises are not allowed. (For a comprehensive list, see here.)

Areas that are to remain closed are cinemas, bowling alleys, game arcades, skating rinks, karaoke bars, amusement parks, water parks, zoos, snooker and billiard halls, game shops, fitness centres, health shops, Thai traditional massage, foot massage, tutorial schools, amulet trading shops and convention/meeting facilities.

Meanwhile, with still no notices from provincial officials, Phuket’s beaches also remain closed to all visitors.

Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana late yesterday afternoon led the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee and relevant officials on an inspection tour of both Central Festival and Central Phuket Floresta malls, together branded as Central Phuket.

“We found that there is sufficient preparation according to the standards of disease control required by the [mandatory] guidelines. They are doing very well,” he said.

Although the number of visitors to the malls yesterday were near capacity – Central Festival can accommodate 19,500 visitors a day and Central Phuket Floresta 25,000 people – Governor Phakaphong noted that the malls did not appear to be crowded.

“In general, it seems people are coming to just buy what they need and go back home. You can see by just looking around that it is not too crowded. They hurry to buy, then they hurry back home,” he said. 

Governor Phakaphong thanked people for understanding the virus countermeasures in place.

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However, he suggested more signs be posted in English.

“There are more than 5,000 foreign tourists still in Phuket, and there are 10,000 foreigners who live and work here. English-language communication about COVID-19 preventive measures must be added for foreigners,” he said.

Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, Senior Vice President of Central Pattana, told The Phuket News that the Central malls were upholding their "Central Clean, Confident" highest safety measures for maximum safety.

The measures are as least intrusive but as effective as possible so visitors experience close to “normal life” while at the malls, she explained.

All stores and common areas are sprayed with disinfectant, and the air-conditioning systems are cleansed, every day, Ms Wilaiporn said.

On entering the malls, visitors must install the Thai Chana app to help health officials with any possible tracking of visitors that may be required, she added.

“We have also launched a new function in Line @centralLife for customers to register. It will track customers and warn them when they are approaching two hours here. Customers are notified to comply with the guidelines on cleanliness measures,” she said.

For those not yet willing to risk venturing out or just want to stay at home as a precaution, Central is supporting the “Stay at Home Stop for the Nation” policy with delivery and drive-thru services, Ms Wilaiporn explained.

“All services comply with safety standards,” she added.

Additional reporting by
Eakkapop Thongtub and Tanyaluk Sakoot

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Shwe | 19 May 2020 - 09:55:11

Where can you download this app? it is not on google play store

Christy Sweet | 19 May 2020 - 09:03:37

Now is the time to stay inside. It was safe before during lockdown but now it will spread, the masks are used as an end all w/o  change in hygiene practice. I'd go to big chains where cashiers have protection incl. real surgical masks changed often. Stay away from SC  small branches, nightmare scenario on migrant labors. Eat tomatoes raw 

ThorFinger | 18 May 2020 - 21:05:51

Lalala, Australia has tracking app also. No way I'm going into any shop where you have to sign up for it wherever I live. 

LALALA | 18 May 2020 - 20:22:07

sorry Harald..Supercheap ? I went to their branch in Chalong south of the underpass once and went out immediately... the smell in there is a nightmare... I agree on Junkceylon and central... overpriced... Macro is an alternative though.

Pascale | 18 May 2020 - 14:16:34

Numbers may be high right now,but they will decline rapidly.Who wants to go through all that hassle only to buy a shirt or so.  Rules to visit a gym are ridiculous too. The " new normal" ? I call it the "new craziness" !

LALALA | 18 May 2020 - 13:45:28

....,visitors must install the Thai Chana app,.... here you go... big brother is watching you, a governmental tracking app must be installed...nit with me guys, will refrain from spending in this place

harald | 18 May 2020 - 13:45:27

smart people are shopping in supercheap in phuket town avoiding getting ripped off in shopping center like tesco lotus,  jungceylon, festival and so on. 


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