Thailand News Today | Bangkok Governor proposes easing of mask mandate
The new Bangkok Governor is pushing the CCSA to consider extending the current closing times for the capital’s nightlife and an easing of the face mask requirements.
His requests follow a flip flopping of the easing of mask wearing in Phuket last week, where the local governor had announced that the mask mandate was dropped in outdoor areas, but the policy was quickly reversed by the national government. To add to the confusion, the easing of mask wearing was even confirmed by the Thai government’s English-speaking media.
Bangkok’s Governor, Chadchart Sittupunt, will follow last week’s “misunderstanding” in Phuket with a similar request for the capital.
He said he believes that two key impediments to getting tourists back to Bangkok are the requirement to wear face masks in public open spaces as well as the midnight closing times.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has maintained his doomer stance, predicting that daily infections could soar within 3-5 days after the country’s entertainment venues were given the official nod on June 1 and will rise to 10,000 cases per day yet again. Now on June 6, daily infections stand at just over 2,000.
Bangkok’s Governor says since there has been no spike in cases since the reopening of nightlife, an extension of the closing time to 2am would even help ease overcrowding at nightlife venues. Chatchart acknowledged that the city’s nightlife contributes to the growth of the economy and that a resumption of post-midnight operations will also help food vendors and taxis.
The Bangkok Post reports that City Hall’s communicable disease committee is meeting tomorrow to discuss revised measures to be presented to the CCSA at their next meeting. The removal of face masks in public places will be among the proposals.
Thailand’s Court of Justice announced that suspects and prisoners on charges related to cannabis use and possession would be freed after cannabis and hemp are removed from the Public Health Ministry’s Category 5 drug list on June 9th.
On Saturday, spokesperson of the Courts of Justice, Sorawit Limparangsee, confirmed that all suspects and prisoners charged with production, import, export, distribution, use and possession of cannabis even before June 9 would be released.
But as we slowly learn the details of cannabis in Thailand, we are learning that it’s not all clear and plain sailing just yet, as the cultivation and smoking of recreational marijuana, even for personal use, is still illegal.
This is because the Ministry of Public Health is working to decriminalise the use and possession of cannabis in Thailand to promote medical tourism. Starting Thursday, people are allowed to grow cannabis at home for medical use without asking for government permission. The only requirement is that people have to download an app called Plook Ganja and register.
Every part of cannabis and hemp can be legally used at home for medical purposes if the amount of THC, or CBD, is less than 0.2%. That means you are not legally allowed to get high in Thailand.
But that’s not the end of the story. Even if you use cannabis and hemp products and extracts at home legally, you can still be charged if you try to smoke it because smoking cannabis is considered a public nuisance. People can file a complaint against cannabis users or smoke creators and those users face a 3-month jail sentence and a fine of up to 25,000 baht if they are found guilty of a public nuisance charge.
So to sum up our game plan for cannabis tourism, you can grow cannabis, as long as you tell the government. But you can’t get high off of it, no no! And if you smoke it near your neighbours you could go to jail. Sounds like an excellent plan!
Yesterday, Bangkok held its first LGBTQ+ parade since 2006. Many members of the community flocked to the Naruemit Pride event, wearing rainbow-themed attire and waving rainbow flags down Silom Road.
A collaboration of non-governmental organisations planned the first event in 16 years, which also received the blessing of the city’s freshly elected Governor, Chadchart Sittipunt.
Several rainbow activists attended the parade to urge basic rights for the LGBTQ+ community, including same-sex marriage, an end to sexual harassment, and the legalisation and registration of sex workers. The parade also hosted a wedding ceremony of a same-sex couple which attracted the attention of the crowd. The issue of marital rights was especially important to many in the parade. While Thailand as a whole largely accepts the rainbow community, they still encounter obstacles like same-sex marriage because of the kingdom’s traditional Buddhist beliefs and conservative leadership.
Parliament has yet to pass legislation allowing same-sex marriage. They agreed on a proposal to increase rights in March but the cabinet rejected a plan to acknowledge same-sex partnerships as equal to heterosexual couples.
Miss Tiffany Universe, a transgender beauty pageant contestant, เมษา เพชรคำ, voiced her opinion at the event yesterday, saying that the community doesn’t want more rights than other genders, just equal rights.
The chief of a national park in south Thailand announced on Saturday that 59 Rohingya migrants had appeared on the beach, with no food or supplies with them.
ตะรุเตา National Park is located across several islands in Thailand’s southernmost province of Satun, near the Malaysian border. The group of 59 migrants was found on ดง Island. Park officials will investigate how the migrants arrived on the island, and will wait for instructions on what steps to take.
As a persecuted ethnic and religious minority group in Myanmar, many Rohingyas have died attempting to flee to neighbouring countries. Last month, a boat carrying at least 90 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Malaysia capsized off the coast of Myanmar, drowning at least 14 of the passengers, mostly children.
Rohingya, and other Burmese refugees, or citizens just trying to find work, are routinely trafficked through Thailand. Many find illegal work in the country’s fishing industry, or low-paying work as illegal migrant workers.
But even if they make it to Malaysia, life remains hell for many Rohingyas or any other Burmese refugees. The country does not recognise refugee status, and Rohingyas there are kept in immigration detention centres. In April, 582 Rohingya refugees had escaped a temporary immigration detention centre, when 2 men, 2 women, and a boy and a girl were hit and killed trying to cross a highway in Kedah state.
An Aquaman-type underwater utopia is being developed near Koh Phangan island in Surat Thani province, out of redundant oil and gas rigs.
Natural Resources and Environment department revealed plans are well underway to utilise decommissioned oil rigs to develop a new diving destination for tourists located around 7.5 nautical miles northeast of Koh Phangan island.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa says he is happy with the project’s development, jointly carried out by US-based Chevron, Chulalongkorn University, and the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, which began in April 2019.
Warawut believes the metal structures will help build a new coral reef sightseeing area, attracting dive tour operators and drivers, and if successful, the artificial coral reef area could be expanded.
Supichai , managing director of Chula Unisearch under Chulalongkorn University, says as artificial coral reefs grow, they attract fish and a number of other marine species.
Since the project got underway, the fish population density has more than doubled to 215 fish per 100 square metres, up from 97, while varieties have risen to 47 species, up from 15.
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