Outdoor mask rules eased in Phuket, new Bangkok governor says capital may follow

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UPDATE: Since this story was published, the Phuket Governor has cancelled orders to reduce the mask wearing requirements in Phuket. Read about that HERE.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Phuket has eased some of its mask-wearing requirements for people not at risk of serious illness as a result of Covid-19. People no longer need to wear face masks while outdoors in open-air spaces, such as beaches, stadiums, and public parks, provided there is a space of 2 metres between them and others.

The new order, effective from June 1, was signed by provincial governor Narong Woonciew yestereday. However, the Bangkok Post reports that people are still required to wear face masks in indoor spaces and where there are large crowds. In addition, the lifting of the outdoor mask mandate does not apply to those in the high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

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Those who refuse to wear a mask in indoor and crowded spaces could still face a fine of up to 20,000 baht under the Communicable Disease Act and could be found in violation of the Emergency Decree. This carries a jail term of up to 2 years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, the newly-elected governor is watching what’s happening on the southern holiday island. Asked about the easing of the mask mandate on Phuket, governor Chadchart Sittipunt says he’d like Bangkok to be able to do the same, given that the Covid situation has improved in the capital. However, this will need to be done in consultation with health authorities, including the health department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The Bangkok Post reports that Chadchart is also interested in extending the opening hours of bars and other nightlife venues, as well as public parks. He says doing this would ease congestion in such places and allow attendance to be more spread out. Nightlife operators in the capital have expressed frustration at the current closing time of midnight, saying the re-opening is pointless if this rule remains.

Dr Kiatiphum Wongrajit from the Public Health Ministry has previously stated that restrictions could be eased further from mid-June. According to Kiatiphum, the outdoor mask mandate could be lifted in Bangkok at that stage, with only high-risk groups still required to wear one.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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