Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, delivered the news today during his announcements to the press at the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok.
Mr Natapanu explained that the resumption of business throughout the country will be rolled out in stages, with businesses classified into four groups: White (essential low-risk services), Green, Yellow, and Red (high-risk non-essential services).
The White group is considered essential for people’s livelihoods and the economy. As for the Red group, he said, “They are not ready to be opened yet.”
Businesses classified in the White group may re-open on May 3, Mr Natapanu said, but they must follow “general principles” laid down by health authorities, as follows:
- Must always clean and sanitise all surfaces in venues of public activities prior to use
- Participants and customers are required to wear masks. “Participants meaning people taking part in activities, like people taking part in sport activities, and customers meaning like customers of restaurants,” Mr Natapanu said.
- All staff at the workplace must wash their hands often with antibacterial soap and alcohol
- At least one metre social distance must be maintained between persons
- The maximum number of persons in each venue at the same time must be regulated to avoid congestion and the time for each activity kept to a minimum to avoid exposure
- Tracking apps and technology may be used where appropriate
The White Group, allowed to resume operations from May 3, comprises six business/venue types, as follows:
- Markets - including fresh markets, floating markets, flea markets, community markets and street vendors and stalls
- Restaurants - including cafes, “dessert joints”, convenience stores, mobile phone stores, IT stores and local "mom-and-pop” and other local stores. “These ones must be located outside shopping malls,” Mr Natapanuy noted.
- Retail stores - including supermarkets and convenience stores
- Recreation areas - including public parks where low-intensive exercise takes place and places where “non-team, non-competitive sports” take place. “Tennis, for example is allowed as long as it is non-team and non-competitive, and the same with golf and golf practice ranges
- Salons, barber shops - may provide only basic services “wash, cut, dry and style”
- Pet grooming centres and pet nurseries
The measures will be evaluated every 14 days and may be adjusted where necessary, Mr Natapanu explained.
The goal is to relax the measures “25% at a time” until the situation has returned to normal, he said.
The general principles apply to all businesses from when they open regardless of which category they are, Mr Natapanu confirmed.
“Provincial measures can be more stringent but not more relaxed than the general principles set out,” Mr Natapanu added.
Mr Natapanu pointed out that the administration still strongly encourages working from home “to continue with at least 50% of work done from home”.