The following is our weekly feature in which we take a look at the top developing stories and things to follow over the next week. We are focusing on what is happening for the fourth week of September, ending October 1st, 2021.
As we publish dozens of stories a week, this allows our readers to get a quick glimpse of the most important stories taking place in Thailand and Pattaya and to monitor and follow for the week ahead, as chosen by our editorial team.
Let’s get right into it:
This week, the main story to follow is a scheduled meeting of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, in Bangkok set for tomorrow morning, September 27th, 2021.
This highly anticipated meeting is scheduled to discuss and potentially make final decisions on multiple items of extreme interest for both tourists and residents of Thailand. Although some of the decisions may be deferred, postponed, or delayed…many will likely get semi-final decisions. It’s important to note that these decisions will need final approval from the Thai Cabinet at their weekly meeting on September 28th, 2021 before going into the Royal Gazette and becoming “official.” Finally, in reference to any changes of Covid-19 restrictions, they also need Governor level approval before becoming official, which usually comes a day or two later than CCSA orders. Governor’s have the ability to strengthen rules in their provinces, but not ease them.
Here are just some of the high-level items on the agenda for this week that we will be keeping a close eye on. We will link articles as references for more information where appropriate, click on the colored text for more:
- Decision on reducing quarantine times from the current fourteen days to as low as seven. This decision, if approved, will also likely cause changes to Sandbox programs like Phuket.
- An official decision on “opening” (See link in this paragraph) five more areas (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Cha-Am, Hua Hin) to foreign vaccinated tourists as early as October. This is nearly certain to be delayed to November based on pre-meetings.
- A decision on the Emergency Decree and if it will be extended for several more months as proposed. This comes as the Thai Cabinet had approved a new communicable disease act to eventually replace the decree but it will need to go before Parliament to be debated and the earliest expected date for that is November.
- A discussion on how to reopen entertainment venues, although this is merely a discussion and is likely to be a phased, slow and steady plan.
- More easing of restrictions is widely expected to be discussed. Although entertainment venues will nearly certainly not be allowed to open from the start of October, other items like cinemas and fitness centers are to be discussed and possibly given approval for in “maximum control zones.”
- The curfew in the 29 “maximum control” zones will be discussed. Early meetings point to it likely staying, despite extreme criticism, as the government believes it helps stop parties and social gatherings at night. There may be some adjustments from the current time of 9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.
- It is possible the government changes some zone color codings, although early meetings pointed that they may leave them the same. The CCSA sets each of the 77 provinces by a color code which helps mandate what restrictions and rules are in place to control Covid-19. They have not changed in well over a month, despite some “dark red” provinces recording almost no cases.
- We may learn more about a proposed plan to only allow vaccinated customers into “high risk” venues in maximum control “dark red” provinces which was originally proposed for September but shelved after both widespread criticism and lack of enough people fully vaccinated. The CCSA has repeatedly said they have considered bringing this into effect in October.
- Further discussion about how and when to safely open schools in maximum control provinces is expected. The CCSA will start vaccinating children and teenagers 12-18 throughout October, but only with parental consent. They have stated the vaccine will NOT be mandatory after initial confusion to return to an in-person class.
- More information about the Samui Plus potentially becoming a Phuket-style sandbox may be discussed. This, however, is also likely to be delayed like other provinces until November.
As our readers can see, this is a very full agenda and will have ramifications not just for next week but for all of October. We will be monitoring tomorrow’s meetings closely and will be posting the accurate, official information when it is released as always. Have a safe week ahead!