The order is marked to be in effect from April 10-17.
The preamble to the order marked that the restrictions had been ordered by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Mar 14, under advisement by the Ministry of Culture, which had presented guidelines for holding activities to commemorate Songkran Day.
“Songkran the new way” is to be observed by carrying out New Normal activities, refraining from splashing water, powdering or group activities, due to the current epidemic situation of COVID-19 in Phuket, the order said.
As such, under the authority Sections 22, 34 and 35 of the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 (2015), and the regulations issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2005 (No. 1) , the following restrictions are to be enacted for Songkran:
(1) Refrain from splashing water, spraying powder, holding foam parties or activities in close contact.
(2) Refrain from selling and consuming alcoholic beverages (Alcohol Free Zone) in the event areas with large groups of people
(3) Refrain from organising crowded gatherings of people that cause disorder with the exception of performing water blessing ceremonies involving monks or elders in the community
The following activities shall be reduced:
(1) Plays and other cultural performances; local traditional activities organized into a parade
(2) Music performances where crowded groups are gathered
People are to:
(1) Avoid sharing equipment and belongings at religious activity gatherings, such as flowers, incense sticks, candles, bowls, offerings
(2) Avoid close contact activities or sharing items between visiting relatives, such as hugs, kisses, eating/drinking, joining in karaoke, etc.
(3) Avoid social gatherings and the sharing food or drink that are held for long periods of time
All people are to observe the government’s VUCA policy, and safety measures for the workplace, which must be monitored and supervised during the Songkran Festival, the order noted.
All Songkran Festival activities must observe the COVID Free Setting guidelines.
The order 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.