The confirmation that the annual festival will proceed came at a meeting of officials and representatives from 30 shrines across the island held at Provincial Hall yesterday (Sept 14).
Chairing the meeting was Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew joined by Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong, who noted that it was important to allow the festival to be held.
“The festival in Phuket of fasting and eating only vegetables is is an old tradition that has been passed down for a long time, and it is known to both Thais and foreigners from all over the world that such traditions are very important to Phuket and to the people of Phuket,” V/ Gov Piyapong said.
“This year, the Vegetarian Festival will be held on Oct 6-14 while the outbreak is still ongoing, so the festival must be held under strict disease control measures,” V/Gov Piyapong continued.
“Basically, the measures will focus on three main aspects: participation in ceremonies, the quality of foods, and the hygiene standards of restaurants and shrine kitchens,” he said.
“For participation in ceremonies, every shrine can hold all the ceremonies like before, but the number of participants must be limited or lower than normal. Participants must maintain social distancing. Shrine staff must be tested every three days.
“For the quality of food and the hygiene standards, the Phuket Public Health Office [PPHO] has set measures and standards for shrine kitchens. All cooks must be tested every three days,” he explained.
“If a cook tests positive, he or she must be taken to receive treatment, and any other people who had close contact with the person must self-quarantine at home for 14 days,” V/Gov Piyapong added.
“The shrine organisation must change the whole team of cooks and close the kitchen for at least one day for cleaning and sanitising,” he said.
“For food vendors near the shrines, they must strictly follow the disease control measures,” he also warned.
“However, I need to present the measures to be considered and discuss this again with the Communicable Disease Committee,” V/Gov Piyapong added.