Thai Health Minister meets with most business sectors about easing Covid19 restrictions in maximum control provinces

PHOTO: PR - Ministry of Public Health

Bangkok –

The Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul today, August 24th, held a discussion with nine major business groups around introducing potential relaxation measures to allow dining-in at restaurants, as well as other easing of restrictions, to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The Minister hosted a meeting with representatives from nine business associations who arrived at the Ministry to submit a petition, urging for relaxation for some businesses to be operated under disease control measures.

The associations included restaurant business operators, the Furniture Industry Group, the Industrial Group of Thailand, Private Clinical Association, Thai Spa Operators Association, Thai Garment Industry Association, Thai Golf Club Association, Association of Thai Hairdressers, and the Thai Restaurant Association.

Conspicuous in their absence were representatives from the entertainment, bar, live music, and nightlife industry, arguably the hardest hit sector of business, having been closed basically nationwide since April.

According to the petition of those who attended the meeting, business reopening should be divided into 3 phases. In the first phase, restaurants should be allowed to open at 50 percent of their capacity while other businesses, including construction, furniture, dental clinics, massage parlors and spas, medical clinics, beauty institutions, IT equipment and electricity, and office buildings, should be reopened under a first phase by September 1st.

In the second phase, 75 percent of restaurants capacity should be approved by September 15th. Clothing stores and educational institutions should be operated as well. And in the last phase, scheduled for the end of September, restaurants should be fully allowed to open for customers as well as other health care businesses, playgrounds, fitness centers, indoor exercise venues, cinemas, etc, reopening nearly every business sector except for the nightlife, entertainment, and bar industry.

The nightlife and entertainment economy was left out of the proposed plan as according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, it is difficult to open even with many rules during the Covid-19 situation.

PHOTO: PR – Ministry of Public Health

Anutin stated during the meeting that the government had been trying to find a solution for all entrepreneurs and a balance between business and Covid-19 health restrictions but there were many things beyond his control, such as the discovery of new mutants. However, he also thanked all business sectors for their understanding and cooperation during this hardship.

Dr. Kiattipoom Wongrachit, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, revealed to the press after the meeting that the Ministry will propose to the CCSA at a general meeting this Friday, August 27th, regarding the relaxation of some preventive measures. However, the reopening of dine-in at restaurants is likely, according to his statement.

“The will be proposed to the CCSA meeting this Friday. However, it is possible that the CCSA would allow about 50 percent capacity to reopen dine-in restaurants and more relaxation of outdoor establishments, fitness centers, and so on,” he stated.

TPN media notes that this is for 29 maximum control zones like Chonburi and Bangkok where currently dine-in is banned. Provinces that are not a maximum control zone already have dine-in open.

We also note that one possible rule or measure proposed was proof of being vaccinated or recovered against Covid-19 before going to restaurants or “high-risk” venues. However, it is currently only a preliminary proposal and nothing is final or decided.

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