Public Health Minister “suggests” Thais focus on family, not booze, during Songkran

As Thais wait for officials to announce today whether Songkran water festivals will happen in April, Public Health Minister Anutin suggests they completely skip the alcohol. At a press conference yesterday, Anutin confirmed Thais will be allowed to travel and visit family. He said Thais should focus on family and “traditional religious activities”, according to The Pattaya News.

Anutin “asked” that Thais avoid drinking alcohol, having parties, and gathering around booze at Songkran this year, although this statement was not a mandate. The minister also said that alcohol weakens immune systems. Songkran festivals were cancelled in Thailand in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

This is not the first time a Thai official has “requested” that people avoid large gatherings, without officially mandating it. Last month, Pattaya’s public relations department “requested” that people not hold events and parties with over 50 people.

The CCSA will discuss today whether or not water splashing will be allowed during Songkran. If Songkran celebrations are held, the proposed guidelines assert they will only be allowed to take place in special areas with Covid-19 prevention measures in place. This includes merit-making and “rod-nam-dam-hua” or pouring water on the hands of respected relatives. The CCSA will discuss the proposed guidelines today.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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