The government’s coronavirus task force announced Wednesday that Thailand’s economic lockdown will officially end June 30 with all businesses, including bars and soapy massage parlors, allowed to reopen.
Official confirmation of the decision is expected at Monday’s CCSA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, said additional health regulations being drafted will govern the reopening of the highest-risk businesses, notably a requirement that all bars and pubs close at midnight.
It also appears the government will endorse the majority of 18 controversial rules governing nightlife proposed earlier this week. Most of those rules are aimed at Thai-style pubs where stage shows and bottle service is the norm.
Among them is a prohibition on advertising or promotion of alcohol, including beer-promotion girls – supposedly to reduce demand and crowding. Table capacity would be capped at five people and bottle service – ice and open liquor – would be discouraged, but not outright banned.
Customers in all high-risk businesses – bars or massage parlors – must have customers check-in using the government’s Thai Chana contact-tracing app and institute the standard set of disease-control measures, such as temperature checks, spacing of tables, and provision of hand sanitizer.
Taweesilp made no mention of the other proposed rules, including a prohibition on entertainers sitting with customers.
Outside of bars, videogame arcades would be allowed to open without serving food or drinks and soapy massage businesses would be allowed to offer “bathing” services again.
Clearly trying to avoid the obvious business of what goes on in the palatial brothels where massage is an afterthought, Taweesilp said both employees and customers would have to wear masks at all times – except during “bathing time”. Thai Chana check-in also is encourage, although parlors can alternatively record contact information on paper.
Employees would need to be tested regularly for Covid-19, he said.
Bars and other high-risk businesses also would be required to retain a month’s worth of security-camera footage in case a Covid-19 case is tracked back to the venue. Many bars currently only keep a week or two of footage.
Again, Taweesilp’s announcement covers the CCSA’s subcommittee decision. The recommendation and restrictions still require full board endorsement and tweaks to the restrictions can be made.