13 July 2024

Today (Friday) is the first on which many businesses in Thailand’s 29 COVID-19 “dark red” provinces have seen some restrictions eased, as the situation improves.

Among the changes is the shortening of the night curfew, from 9pm-4am to 10pm-4am, while the state of emergency remains in place until the end of November.

Businesses and activities allowed to reopen and resume today include children’s nurseries, child development centres, libraries, museums, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, health centres, indoor sports arenas, gyms, cinemas and live music in restaurants.

Meanwhile, the resort of island of Phuket has started to ease travel restrictions as more people arrive in the province overland, via the Chatchai pier immigration checkpoint.

Arrivals in Phuket must be fully vaccinated and show proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19, either through an antigen or RT-PCR test. Local residents returning to the island must have an antigen test kit with them and take the test in front of officials, who will then issue an official document stating the test result.

Phuket has also eased some restrictions on markets, flea markets, walking streets, convenience stores, gymnasia and restaurants.

Live music is now allowed in restaurants, but no more than 5 musicians, alcohol can be served and they must close at 10pm.

37,000 tourists have joined the Phuket “sandbox” scheme over the past 3 months, which only 37% of initial expectations.

Meanwhile, Phu Chi Fa National Park, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, has been welcoming tourists on the first day of reopening, after the sub-district of Tub Tao in Toeng district has not seen a new COVID-19 case for several months.

The cool air, at 13oC, and the beautiful sunrise over a carpet of cloud, viewable from higher elevations, draw many visitors.