Patong Municipality workers removed the ‘Beach Closed’ signs at Patong Beach as Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai joined Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup and Patong Police Chief Col Aganit Danpitaksat at a public event at 9:30am with dozens of officers walking onto the sand to declare the famous beach open.
At the same time, more than 100 tourists and local residents arrived at Nai Harn Beach to enjoy the popular sands at the southern end of the island, as well as at other popular beaches along the west coast.
“Today is the first day that the beaches reopen. Thank you to everyone who has been patient and stood strong together,” Vice Governor Supoj said at the event in Patong.
“The impact from COVID-19 has already caused more damage to the economy than the tsunami [in 2004],” he added.
“Even though Phuket International Airport remains closed, there are still about 5,000 tourists in Phuket. Hotels are already allowed to reopen, when they are ready to serve tourists. Now most of them are renovating to be ready for ‘new normal’ health regulations,” V/Gov Supoj said.
People at the beaches must maintain the social distance rule of keeping one to two metres from other people, V/Gov stressed.
“Also, all vendors must follow the safety measures. Then I am sure that tourists will be confident in their health and their safety in Phuket province,” he said.
Patong Mayor Chalermluck said, “Patong beach is ready for tourists but we still need them to protect themselves.”
She added, “Patong vendors will fully support following the safety rules. “For example, all vendors must keep clean everything that tourists touch.”
Patong Municipality yesterday issued a four-page order of the rules that all beach vendors must follow.
Mayor Chlermluck said that she was working towards achieving much more than mere compliance from beach vendors, and was looking toward “greater improvements’ in the services provided at the beach. However, she declined to offer more details, saying that more information on that project would be available later.
Meanwhile, Patong Police Chief Col Aganit reminded beach-goers to be careful of their behaviour on the beach at nighttime.
“Don’t forget that the curfew is still active [from 11pm to 3am]. Sleeping on the beach is not allowed, and do not hold any parties on the beach, especially while the curfew is still in effect,” he said.
“Spend time together at the beach with family and close friends only. That’s enough,” he added.
According to the order issued by Phuket Govenor Phakaphong Tavipatana poasted publicly on Sunday (June 7), the beaches are allowed to reopen under the following conditions:
- All touch surfaces should be cleaned before operations, waste disposal must be conducted every day.
- All people on the beach, including visitors, business operators, municipal workers etc, must wear protective masks at all times.
- All people must clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol sanitiser before entering and exiting the area.
- All people must maintain social distancing of at least one to two metres from other people
- Number of people on the beach should be controlled to prevent crowding. Operating hours can be restricted if this is needed to keep social distancing.
In its own notice announcing six rules for visiting the beach, the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) also called for:
- All people are to observe their own health. Any persons with a fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing are urged not to visit the beach, but instead to go to see a doctor immediately.
- All people visiting the beach must wear face masks at all times while in the beach area
- All people are to wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol gel before entering and exiting the area.
- All people are to keep at least one to two metres from other people – on the ground [beach] and in the water, and try not to shout to each other while in the water.
- Risk groups of people including the elderly and people with breathing conditions are urged to avoid being on the beach when there are many people.
- All people are to strictly follow all rules for being in the area.