Thailand has announced a number of adjustments to its COVID-19 restrictions, comprising an extension of the international flight ban, a change to the nightly curfew and a second phase in the continued relaxation of control measures for businesses and tourism attractions nationwide.
According to a statement by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), the existing ban on international flights into Thailand will be extended until 17.00 UTC on 30th June 2020. The move is intended to “maintain the continuity of the prevention and control measures.” It will come into effect immediately and supersede the previous measures.
The ban does not include state or military aircraft, humanitarian aid, repatriation or cargo flights. Any persons on board such flights will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, in accordance with Thailand’s Emergency Decree on State of Emergency. The extension does not affect current measures for domestic flights or rail travel, which have recently been relaxed.
Yesterday, Thailand also announced the second phase of its plan to ease social restrictions throughout the Kingdom. The newest round of concessions included a shortening of the curfew hours, along with the reopening of several businesses and social facilities, or as the government puts it: “activities relating to the economy and way of life.”
The previous round of easing in social restrictions came into effect on Sunday, 3rd May, when Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) permitted a limited number of business sectors to reopen, following a partial lifting in the Kingdom’s lockdown guidelines.
According to the terms of the new, relaxed restrictions, curfew will now be in effect from the hours of 23.00 to 04.00 (beginning an hour later than previously). In addition, sales of food and beverages will be permitted in restaurants (although pubs and bars are expected to remain closed for the time being). Department stores, shopping malls, retail centres and care centres will all reopen, though cinemas, bowling alleys and amusement parks will stay closed.
China and South Korea have been removed from the Public Health Ministry’s so-called ‘risk list.’ These two nations had been listed as high-risk destinations since March, just before Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a state of emergency. Now, with COVID-19 well contained in these two countries, “We have agreed to issue a new announcement to de-list them,” said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul in a statement on Friday (15/5).
In another positive move forward for the tourism industry, a range of attractions and sporting facilities are raising their shutters after a long period of closure due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The second phase of reopening measures includes beauty clinics, fitness centres, indoor stadiums, botanical gardens, museums, historical sites, libraries and swimming pools.
Thailand’s MICE sector is also showing signs of life, thanks to the new regulations. For the first time in months, hotels and conference centres are being permitted to host meetings and events, provided groups are limited to 50 people and attendees are all from the same company.
Bangkok’s City Hall stipulates that the reopening depends on the cooperation of all owners and patrons; all must adhere to officially sanctioned disease control measures and social distancing.
Although the international flight ban extension is a setback to many in Thailand’s tourism sector, it is widely regarded as necessary to curb the spread of the virus at this time. With attractions reopening and nationwide social restrictions being lifted, there’s plenty of reason for optimism; Thailand continues taking steps towards a more general revival in tourism.
Panorama Destination is following the COVID-19 developments closely in Thailand and our other locations in Southeast Asia. Due to the ever-changing nature of the news, we recommend checking our social media channels, where we’ll continue to post regular updates: