The order, Phuket Provincial Order No. 5409/2564 issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday (Sept 11), is marked to come into effect on Wednesday (Sept 15) and is to remain in effect for two weeks, until Sept 28.
The order was posted publicly on the official Facebook page of the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) at 8:11pm last night, and reposted with details on the “Phuket Info Center” Facebook page, which serves as the official COVID-19 public information channel for the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, at 11:43pm last night.
At this stage The Phuket News has no understanding of why the new order was issued, as all the same conditions that already were in effect remain in effect. The only requirement the order appears to satisfy is that the previous order was marked to remain in effect until this coming Tuesday (Sept 14).
For reasons not explained, unlike most other orders regarding COVID prevention measures, the continually re-issued orders mandating the COVID restrictions in force on venues throughout Phuket are not marked with the standard words “or until a new order is issued”.
The order in full explains the following restrictions in effect, as follows:
All educational institutions on the island are ordered to remain closed, except for those conducting “pilot teaching” and organising activities of no more than five students studying in private schools under the project “Phuket Safety School Sandbox” in accordance with current disease control measures and only with approval from the Phuket Provincial Disease Control Committee.
Of note, several schools in Phuket have resumed in-person classes by satisfying the “Phuket Safety School Sandbox” requirements.
Non-formal education classes of less than five participants may also continue, but all other classes are to be conducted online.
All pubs, bars and other “entertainment” venues are to remain closed, as are all venues for cockfighting, fish fighting, bird races, chicken races and gambling venues as well as boxing stadiums, venues for snooker, billiards or any other pool table establishment.
Computer game shops and internet cafes are also to remain closed.
As with the previous order, removed from the list of venues that must remain closed are swimming pools for public use operated by government offices or private entities are allowed to open, as well as boxing schools and all kinds of martial arts schools, including Woosoo, Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, International Boxing, Judo, Aikido training centres, meaning they are all still allowed to open.
Restaurants and other food and beverage outlets may open for their usual hours, but the ban on serving, selling or allowing alcohol to be consumed on site remains in effect.
Drinking alcohol in public areas, which already has been illegal in Thailand for many years, is given special mention as prohibited.
Fresh markets and walking street markets must limit the number of customers at the market, and maintain social distancing of four square metres per person.
“People should refrain from organising social events in the form of parties, banquets or festivities during this time unless it is a traditional ceremony such as a funeral, ordination or wedding. If the activity cannot be postponed, then it is to be held in accordance with all COVID protection measures,” the order notes.
The maximum number of people allowed to gather at an approved event remains at 100 people. Events or activities held by officials, such as mass vaccination centres, are exempted.
Convenience stores are allowed to operate only between 4am and 11pm.
Sports fields or places for outdoor exercise, parks, courtyards, open-air public activity areas may still remain open until 9pm and are allowed to host competitions with a limited number of visitors.
Places or indoor exercise such as courts, gyms, fitness, yoga, aerobics, exercise classes, badminton may remain open until 9pm, with the number of users limited according to the size of the area adn all users and staff fully vaccinated.
Such indoor excerise venues without air conditioning must have open space and good ventilation, and must limit the number of service users to use no more than 75% of the area. Air-conditioned rooms at such venues must not use more than 50% of the area and service providers and users must be fully vaccinated and follow the D-M-H-T-T-A disease prevention and control measures.
All government offices and workplaces are to arrange for staff to work from home where appropriate.
Government officers are prohibited from leaving the province unless it is for urgent business and may do so only with written approval from superior officers.