The announcement came during the press briefing following the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha earlier today (Jan 7),
Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, confirmed the news in the English-language presentation of the key points from the CCSA meeting that were initially presented by CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin.
All provinces in the country except the eight ‘Blue’ zone tourism pilot provinces will be classified as “controlled zones”, Mr Natapanu said.
“There will be no more dark red or red zones,” he added.
“Entertainment venues such as pubs, bars and karaokes are allowed to temporarily open as restaurants from January 16, 2022,” he added.
“The venues are required to strictly exercise the COVID Free Setting measures and they need to be approved by the provincial authority in each province before the 15th of January, 2022
“For the provinces and areas in the Blue Zones, or the pilot tourism Sandbox zones, alcoholic beverage consumption is allowed until 2100 hours under COVID Free Setting venues ‒ and only in restaurants that have received the SHA+ certificates,” Mr Natapanu said.
Of note, Phuket operators have long had special exemptions from many of the nationally announced requirements regarding opening and the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises.
Phuket officials have yet to confirm exactly which new conditions, if any, will be applied in Phuket.
Mr Natapanu identified the ‘Blue zones’ as Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani; Chonburi (including Pattaya); Kanchanaburi; and Phang Nga, Krabi and Phuket.
“The registration of the new QR code, under the new Test & Go scheme, will continue to be suspended until further notice, most likely until the end of the month,” Mr Natapanu confirmed.
“However, those who have already received the QR code to travel to Thailand as scheduled under the Test & Go measures, the CCSA will constantly adapt the measures as necessary, including consider the time limitation for approved travellers under the Test & Go scheme
and inform you as soon as possible as there are further updates, including any cut off date for the use of the QR code that has already been issued,” he added
Restrictions in travellers from African countries will be lifted next Tuesday (Jan 11), Mr Natapanu also confirmed.
“Therefore all international travellers will be allowed to enter the country under the same conditions,” he added.
Starting next Tuesday, tourists can apply to visit the "new Sandbox" schemes, Mr Natapanu said
These are the pilot Sandbox schemes in Surat Thani, Phang Nga and Krabi. All these are extensions of the Phuket Sandbox scheme to reduce the limited capacity of Phuket for tourism,” he said.
In reopening the Surat Thani Sandbox scheme, international tourists will be allowed to complete their initial stay in the country on Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha-ngan, he confirmed.