Low key Songkran celebrations this year as coronavirus concerns grow
The annual Songkran water festival, in mid-April, has become the latest casualty of COVID-19, as organizers cancel several festive events.
Saensuk municipal mayor Narongchai Khunpluem said that the annual Lai Bang Saen and sand castle building festival, scheduled for April 16th and 17th, following the April 13th to 15th Songkran holidays, will be cancelled to avoid spreading coronavirus.
He also urged people not to splash water on one another, adding that pick-up trucks carrying water for splashing will be banned from beach roads in Bang Saen resort town.
In the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen, the famous Songkran celebration held on Khao Naeo Road, which draws tens of thousands of revellers each year, is cancelled, said Khon Kaen municipal mayor Thirasak Teekhayuphan after consultation with local and community leaders.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yutthasak Supasorn said, however, that the TAT has not yet decided whether to cancel Songkran celebrations, because it needs to assess the virus situation further before making a final decision.
He said the TAT and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism are capable of organizing Songkran celebrations, but may have to limit them to cultural events and restrained water pouring rituals for the elderly.
Mr. Sa-nga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Association of Business Operators on Khao Sarn Road, said he will call a meeting of all parties concerned next week to discuss whether this year’s Songkran celebrations on Khao Sarn Road should be called off.
All private educational institutes have been told, by the Office of the Committee for Private Education Promotion, to postpone indefinitely their sports events and seminars.
The popular Full Moon party on Pha-ngan Island, scheduled for March 8th, has also been called off.