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.
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