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Lockdown tomorrow: What to expect in Bangkok and beyond

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Shopping, buses, flights and other travel are all limited in tomorrows lockdown. (via Slate / Travel Happy)

Though the government won’t use the word, tomorrow sees 10 dark red zone provinces going into, essentially, a lockdown. Here’s a rundown of what to expect during the 2 week period beginning tomorrow (Monday). The restrictions apply to all 10 provinces, but the information below is focused on the lockdown in Bangkok.

INSIDE BANGKOK
Things are about to quieten down. The 9 pm – 4 am curfew means the only people allowed out after 9 pm are healthcare or utility workers on the job or those requiring emergency medical attention. Most businesses will be required to close by 8 pm including convenience stores, night markets, supermarkets, general stores, pharmacies, banks, mobile phone repair, and vaccination centres. Restaurants cannot allow dine-in but can offer takeaway service until 8 pm.

Shopping malls will be closed aside from the specified exceptions above open until 8 pm. Beauty salons, massage parlours, spas, and of course all bars and entertainment venues will be fully closed. Public parks are to remain open so far though, until 8 pm nightly.

The government has instructed all business employees to work at home if at all possible. Gatherings of more than 5 people are banned, with the exception of religious or traditional ceremonies and official business meetings. All Covid-19 safety precautions should be strictly enforced including masks and social distancing.

TRANSPORTATION IN BANGKOK
Bus service in Bangkok will be reduced beginning tomorrow and will only operate from 5 am to 9 pm during the lockdown according to the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority. The reduction will be in effect from tomorrow until at least July 25, in compliance with the 9 pm to 4 am nightly curfew.

Meanwhile, electric rail systems and sky trains are all adjusting their schedules as well. The Airport Rail Link will restrict its service from 5:30 am – 9 pm according to operators SRT Electric Train.

The Bangkok Mass Transit System will close the Sukhumvit Line, Silom Line, and Gold Line of the BTS as well as the BRT rapid bus system at 9 pm for the lockdown. The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand changed their schedule so the last trains arrive at 9 pm and will run MRT Blue Line from 6 am and the Purple Line from 5:30 am

LEAVING BANGKOK
Getting out of the capital city during the lockdown period has also been limited, with public transportation services cut and private travel under close watch. Interprovincial travel is not fully banned, but the government is strongly discouraging anyone from travelling unless absolutely necessary.

The last time Bangkok imposed strict regulations and lockdown measures brought the unintended consequence of residents fleeing to their hometowns for more freedom, spreading Covid-19 along the way. This time officials hope to avoid that same mistake.

Flying out?

The CAAT is ordering airlines to suspend domestic flights between 9pm – 4am, in line with the night curfew imposed in Greater Bangkok and the four southern border provinces. Airlines and airports are also being asked to ensure full adherence to social distancing guidelines, before and during flights.

Carriers are required to restrict flight operations from tomorrow, following the announcement of toughened restrictions and the curfew.
“Airlines must inform passengers and offer assistance if their flights are cancelled or rescheduled to comply with the tightened anti-virus measures.”

Better head north – the Transport Company that oversees all interprovincial buses has suspended all bus routes to the southern provinces including the popular Bangkok to Phuket route for the duration of the lockdown. 1 daily roundtrip will run to each northern city of Khlong Lan, Lon Sak, and Uttaradit, as well as the eastern and northeastern routes to Buriram, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lamphu, Rattanaburi, Surin, Trat, and Ubon Ratchathani, plus the route to Chiang Khan via Loei. Buses will run 5 roundtrip journeys a day to Saraburi though

So just get in your car and hit the road? Well, the police and the Royal Thai Armed Forces will be waiting for you. Since yesterday, over 80 roadblock checkpoints have gone up on the roads out of Bangkok, with additional military patrol units supporting, instructed to enforce travel restrictions and prosecute those attempting to circumvent lockdown measures. They will be checking for non-essential travel and focusing on passenger vans and pickup trucks that might be moving groups of people out of the dark red zone provinces.

NEW COVID-19 COLOUR-CODING DESIGNATIONS

Maximum and strict controlled area Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Narathiwat, Nonthaburi, Songkhla, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Yala, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon
Maximum controlled area Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Chai Nat, Tak, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Sawan, Phetchaburi, Prahuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Lop Buri, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Suphan Buri, Ang Thong, Uthai Thani
Controlled area Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Khon Kaen, Chantaburi, Chaiyaphum, Chumphonm, Trang, Trat, Buriram, Phatthalung, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Roi Et Maha Sarakham, Loei, Sisaket, Satun, Sa Kaeo, Sukhothai, Surat Thani, Surin, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani
Surveillance area Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Bueng Kan, Phayao, Phrae, Phang Nga, Phuket, Mukdahan, Mae Hong Son, Yasothon, Lampang, Lamphun, Sakhon Nakhon, Nong Khai, Amnat Charoen, Uttaradit

CENTRAL DEPARTMENT STORES

The Central Group is closing the following department stores from tomorrow until at least July 25. The Tops Markets at these locations will remain open. It’s just the Central department stores closing, not the entire shopping centres where the department stores are located. Including… Chidlom, CentralWorld, Silom Complex, Chaengwattana, Ladprao, Bangna, Pinklao, Mega Bangna, Rama 3, Rama 2, Eastville, Future Park Rangsit, Westgate, Salaya, Ramintra & Festival Hatyai.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | NBT | FRB

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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