Governor Narong issued the order at a meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall earlier today (Dec 23).
“The committee has resolved to cancel all New Year, or ‘countdown’ events, and the annual carnival [Phuket Red Cross Fair] is also among the first to go,” Governor Narong said.
“In the case of hotels and restaurants holding Christmas events or New Year’s Eve parties to welcome in the New Year, these are allowed but organisers must strictly follow the measures to prevent the spread of disease [namely, COVID-19] issued by the Ministry of Public Health,” he said.
People were asked to refrain from mass religious congregations and the popular Lad Yai Walking Street market held in the heart of Phuket Town every weekend had also been suspended, Governor Narong confirmed.
“This will be for two weeks for your safety. We will wait and see how the situation unfolds,” he said.
Any people organising events or parties during the holiday season were warned to make sure that the full COVID-19 protocols were followed, including social distancing, the wearing of face masks and the use of alcohol-based sanitiser for cleaning hands often.
Dancing and singing karaoke were “absolutely prohibited”, Governor Narong said plainly.
Restaurants and service places can still remain open to serve customers, but they need to increase the screening of customers, he said.
All cooks and waitresses are required to wear a mask, no exceptions, and seats in venues are to be arranged at least two metres apart, he added.
The same full COVID-19 protection measures apply to all flea markets and wet markets as well as places where many people gather to use a service, he noted.
“Such venues are allowed to open normally but must have temperature measurement and tight controls. All guests and visitors are required to wear face masks,” he said.
“All educational institutions and tutoring schools [such as language schools] can still open for service, but the operators must inform the Communicable Disease Control Committee that they are remaining open and they must strictly follow the protection measures,” Governor Narong concluded.
The order to cancel all New Year events today followed Patong Municipality announcing that all mass public events in Patong have been cancelled.
Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsap announced this morning that the Patong Countdown event, which each year attracts thousands of visitors to usher in the New Year with a mass beach party, had been cancelled.
By this afternoon Patong Municipality had announced that all municipality-organised events in Patong that attract large crowds had been cancelled, including the Rim Lay Seafood Festival, the Mini Marathon Run on Dec 27 and the Children’s Day activities that were to be held on Jan 9.
Patong Municipality urged all people in the town to refrain from organising any events that could attract large crowds, but did not stipulate that private parties were banned.
“Moreover, we would like to cooperate with our brothers and sisters to strictly follow the disease control measures… Together, help each other for all our Patong city,” the Municipality announcement read.