The news came after the meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Provincial Hall yesterday (June 21), with a new provincial order signed, dated and issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday posted online last night.
The order is marked as effective from June 21 onwards, just nine days before the July 1 ‘Phuket Tourism Sandbox’ reopening of the island to receiving vaccinated foreign tourists.
“Regarding the relaxation of the opening of places to set preventive measures, surveillance and control of the spread of additional COVID-19 in some areas, places can be opened for certain operations or activities and people can engage in activities necessary for their livelihood and occupation so that economic and social activities can be continued in parallel with public health measures,” Governor Narong said in the order.
Under the new order all types of schools or educational institutions can use buildings and premises for teaching, exams, training or any activities as appropriate.
“Food or beverage outlets that are not operating as an establishment that resembles an entertainment service venue are permitted to allow food or beverages to be consumed in the shop within the specified time [the hours permitted by normal laws].
“The sale and consumption of liquor or alcoholic beverages in the shop is allowed no later than 23:00,” the order said.
From the annex to the order, 70% of staff of the outlet must be fully vaccinated with two injections or the number of doses required for each vaccine or only one injection for AstraZeneca at least 14 days before resuming work.
The order stipulated that entertainment venues in Phuket, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and other venues “which are similar to entertainment venues”, must remain closed, as well as venues for cock fighting, fish fighting, boxing, and other kinds of gambling.
The closure of entertainment venues is enforced nationwide, following the revised restrictions announced by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday being published in the Royal Gazette yesterday.
Meanwhile, another easing of the COVID restrictions under the new Phuket provincial order allows supermarket convenience stores to remain open during their usual hours. Previously all 24-hour convenience stores had to close from 11pm to 4am.
Department stores, shopping centres and community malls are all allowed to resume their normal trading hours ‒ except for game and amusement areas, and all game cabinets, game machines and game shops.
All hairdressing salons for men and women can now open as usual.
Even snooker and billiards halls, and other venues with pool tables, are now allowed to open from 3pm to 11pm. Just like restaurants, 70% of staff must be fully vaccinated.
Internet cafes, theaters and waterparks canare allowed to resume their normal hours of operation. However, amusement parks must be open only from 6am to 8pm, the order said.
“Gathering for social activities, selling alcohol or alcoholic beverages in public areas, beaches, parks are to comply with the law,” the order noted.
The order also noted that for organising activities where there is a risk of transmission of the disease, “do not organize activities in which groups of more than 200 people [will congregate], unless it is an activity performed by a competent official or in an area designated as a quarantine facility,”
However, the order did not clarify whether it was still illegal to have friends visit a family home, an offense for which foreigners have been threatened with deportation.
The order issued yesterday (Provincial Order No. 3373/2564) rescinded the previous order, issued on May 29 (No 2921/2564), meaning that the new order comprises all the restrictions that are now in effect.
The new order no longer includes the provision that dining together or drinking alcohol at home or any other place of residence must involve family members and must not have an outside party.
“In the event that the offender is a foreigner it may be considered to cancel [the foreigner’s permission to] living in the Kingdom in strict accordance with the Immigration Act,” the previous order warned.
The new order issued yesterday (June 21) no longer carries that warning.
Regardless, officials have yet to specifically confirm that this restriction has now been lifted.
Officers or employers must consider letting employees work from home as long as necessary, in order to reduce people movement and the risk of infection.
Officers must strictly inspect the areas which are at risk of spreading the disease, such as factories and the worker camps. Whoever does not follow the suggestion of officers and act against this order must be punished under the relevant law, the order noted.
Failure to comply with the order may be punished under Section 51 of Disease Control Act 2015, which incurs a fine of up to B20,000, or under Section 52 of the act, which invokes a penalty of up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to B100,000 or both, the order noted.
Those found breaching the order will also be charged under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005), which invokes a penalty of up to two years imprisonment or up to B40,000 or both, the order warned.