Thai Culture Ministry to officially propose a “traditional-only” no water fights or large parties Songkran this Friday, but final decision still to come

PHOTO: Thairath

Bangkok –

The Thai Ministry of Culture, led by Minister Itthiphol Khunplume, is planning to propose the restriction of throwing water, foam parties, usage of clay, large parties, pickup trucks throwing water, parades, and other “non-traditional” activities to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) general meeting this Friday.

The Minister told reporters after a small CCSA meeting this afternoon, March 16th, that the initial guidelines that had been discussed with the National Security Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports today will allow the Songkran holiday to be organized in line with only the Thai religious traditions, such as offering alms to monks, paying respects to elders by pouring water gently on their hands, praying at home, sprinkling water on religious objects, wearing of traditional Thai outfits, and cleaning of the home as a family.

The playful activities, especially splashing water and face powder, to celebrate the festival will be requested to be banned as many local people are still concerned about the possible local transmission of Covid-19 Coronavirus, according to their proposal. The “fun activities” would likely draw large crowds under the influence of alcohol, which could potentially spread the Covid-19 virus.

Regarding the private places, Itthiphol stated that the private owners need to strictly comply with the Public Health Ministry’s Covid-19 control measures. Some popular tourist destinations known for the Songkran celebration, such as Khao San Road, can be closed for the event but participants must refrain from splashing water and remain socially distancing.

“It is considered that there is still a risk of the spread of Covid-19 if the government allowed the celebrations in Thailand, such as water festivals and foam parties. Therefore, we think it is best if we could refrain from splashing and spraying water and powder to avoid close contact,” the Minister added.

This proposal from the Culture Ministry will be presented and further discussed at the general CCSA meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha, this Friday, March 19th. This decision by the culture minister is a backtrack from last week where he suggested that the water play may continue as the “fun activities” are a significant draw for tourism areas.

The decision would not affect controlled activities, like the Wonder Wave, at Ramayana water park but those would still need to be under the general health precautions of the Thai Ministry of Public Health, added the Culture Minister. Private venues, such as bars and nightclubs, would need to follow the Ministry of Public Health Guidelines also, which will be announced Friday.

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