Thailand’s road to full COVID-19 recovery took another step forward today, following a government announcement that national parks will reopen and nationwide curfews will be lifted. The latest round of relaxations for local businesses will come into effect from Monday, 15th June. The move precedes a full return to international tourism operations, scheduled for the beginning of July.
Following a meeting of Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to lift the nightly curfew and permit around 95% of businesses to reopen, with the only exceptions being certain entertainment venues and massage parlours, which continue to be deemed high-risk environments. According to secretary-general of the National Security Council Somsak Roongsita, alcoholic drinks will be allowed in restaurants, but not quite yet in pubs or bars.
The latest round of easing in Thailand’s restrictions have been approved by health officials and experts, including Dr Sukum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary for health; Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of Thailand’s Disease Control Department; and Chatchai Phromlert, permanent secretary for the interior. Panprapa Yongtrakul, who is assistant spokeswoman at the CCSA, stated that people should continue taking appropriate COVID-19 safety precautions, including the use of face masks, regular hand washing and social distancing.
When international tourists return to Thailand next month, they will be able to enjoy fresh air, wide open spaces and the restorative of escapism of nature, thanks to today’s announcement that almost all of Thailand’s 155 national parks will be allowed to reopen. The news was confirmed today by Varawut Silpa-archa, who is Thailand’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.
Thailand’s network of national parks was closed in March in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Since then, the natural world has had a chance to catch its breath and recover; many parks have seen a marked improvement in the overall health and diversity of their ecosystems.
Ecologists are keen to protect and preserve this natural recovery; of the 127 parks scheduled to reopen in July, 64 will open fully, while the remaining 63 will do so only partially. The remaining 28 will remain closed until further notice. To ensure both the safety of visitors and the health of the environment, Thai officials will also limit the number of entries permitted to the parks.
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