GRAPHIC: 50% indoor dining in dark red zone allowed as restrictions further eased

The latest regulation will see disease control zoning become more relaxed, with almost all businesses and activities being resumed in over 60 provinces under the controlled and high surveillance zones, except for entertainment and alcohol. Another four provinces including Bangkok will remain under the maximum and strict control zone, while 19 more will be under the maximum control_with 50% space at least in restaurants being on offer

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), chaired by PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, resolved on Friday to further ease the Covid-19 situation administration zoning, which will see almost all of the restrictions imposed against Covid-19 further relaxed from the previous order issued on May 16, especially in the controlled zone and the newly announced high surveillance zone.

Regulation No. 24, issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005), was signed by the PM and published in the Royal Gazette last night and will come into effect from tomorrow onwards.

Only four provinces, Bangkok and its peripheries, will still be placed under the maximum and strict control zone (Dark Red), while  11 more will be under the maximum control zone. And the rest of nine and 53 will be under the controlled zone and high surveillance zone, respectively.

The new adjustment of the disease control zoning is in line with the new policy addressed this week by the PM, who wished to see the country return to normal as quickly as possible with the goal set for the country’s reopening in the next 120 days.

This is essentially aimed at helping businesses and the economy to be resumed and revived although the infection rate remains stably high since the third wave of the outbreak hit the country in early April, plus the increasing threat from virus mutations and new variants.

PM Prayut today has posted on his FB Page again, standing firm on his stance regarding reopening the country, saying concerned authorities must put more efforts to stem the virus as people have been suffering and cannot waste any minute. They should not let any obstacles getting in their way, he stressed.

Thailand had earned much praise from international community during the first round of the outbreak, which saw it capable of controlling the outbreak, but during the second and third rounds of the outbreak, exploding in last December and early Songkran Holiday in April, the country has been hit pretty hard.

Before Songkran, the government had refused to declare disease control zoning, but after the holiday as the outbreak brought by the new variant from the UK was spreading very fast, it decided to impose the zoning, but no provinces including Bangkok, which was the epicentre of the third wave, were placed under the maximum and strict control zone, the strictest. Only 18 provinces were placed under the maximum control zone, and 59 more under the controlled zone.

It then reinforced the zoning starting from May 1 onwards, which saw Bangkok and some other five provinces placed under the maximum and strict control zone, with no dining-in allowed in restaurants, a ban on gatherings of no more than 20 people, as well as strict domestic trips out of the zone.

However, due to economic pressure, it started to let the guard down on May 18, allowing some easing on restrictions imposed against businesses and activities, including 25% dining-in in restaurants in the dark red zone.

Under the latest adjustment of the zones, almost all businesses and activities in the controlled zone and high surveillance zone will be allowed to be resumed to near normal, except for entertainment and alcohol, which will remain prohibited.

As of today, the country has witnessed a relatively high number of new daily infection cases, 3,682.

Maximum and strict control zone (Dark Red): Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathumthani, Samut Prakarn

The following venues and activities remain closed or restrained;

* Entertainment venues, pubs, bars, karaoke

* Schools, educational institutions, and tutorial schools

* Indoor stadiums, indoor gyms, and fitness centres, except for outdoor sports (allowed until 9 pm)

The following venues and activities are allowed under strict disease control measures;

*Department stores or shopping malls until 9 pm, with limited customers and without promotional events

* Restaurants with dining-in in 50% of space until 11 pm. No alcohol served.

* Gathering of no more than 50 people

Maximum control zone (Red): 11 provinces (Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Trang, Nakhon Pathom, Pattani, Phetchaburi, Songkhla, Samut Sakhon, Saraburi, Yala, and Narathiwat)

The following venues and activities remain closed or restrained;

* Entertainment venues, pubs, bars, karaoke

The following venues and activities are allowed under strict disease control measures;

*Department stores or shopping malls with normal opening time but limited customers

* Restaurants with dining-in until 11 pm, but without alcohol

* Indoor stadiums, indoor gyms, and fitness centres until 9 pm, with limited attendance

* Schools, educational institutions, and tutorial schools, with permission granted

* Gathering of no more than 100 people

Controlled zone (Orange): 9 provinces (Chanthaburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Sa Kaew and Samut Songkhram)

The following venues and activities remain closed or restrained;

* Entertainment venues, pubs, bars, karaoke

The following venues and activities are allowed under strict disease control measures;

* Restaurants with normal dining-in, but without alcohol

* Indoor stadiums, indoor gyms, and fitness centres, with normal opening time but limited attendance

* Schools, educational institutions, and tutorial schools with disease control measures

* Gathering of no more than 150 people

High Surveillance Zone (Yellow): 53 provinces

The following venues and activities remain closed or restrained;

* Entertainment venues, pubs, bars, karaoke

The following venues and activities are allowed under strict disease control measures;

* Restaurants with normal dining-in, but without alcohol

* Indoor stadiums, indoor gyms, and fitness centres with limited attendance

* Schools, educational institutions, and tutorial schools with disease control measures

* Gathering of no more than 200 people

**All zones must adhere to mandatory face mask-wearing in public areas.

Credit: CCSA