Oct. 1 is here and Thailand’s “reopening” remains at least a month away. More businesses can open and the curfew is shorter. But what has really changed?
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Sept. 30 released its list of businesses and activities that are now allowed to reopen. But the list of those remaining close is significant, if not in length, than by importance to both daily lives, personal income and the country’s economy.
The curfew is still on for “deep red” and “red” provinces. Yes, now it begins at 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., but does an hour really matter?
Social media is rife with chatter that no one pays any mind to the curfew anymore. No one is enforcing it. That is until the arrests are made. Most don’t want to take the risk.
Booze remains banned. Sure, it can be had in coffee cups and “speakeasies”, but is it really socializing when you have to have one eye trained on the door for the police raid?
So what else is back to “new normal”?
- Schools. No, not really open until November, and only if 85 percent of teachers are vaccinated.
- Cinemas – But no late shows, no popcorn, no Coke and only 50 percent capacity.
- Restaurants. But only until 9 p.m., with 50-75 percent capacity limits, no legal alcohol sales and masked musicians.
- Child daycare.
- Convenience stores and markets (closing time 9 p.m.)
- Libraries and museums (75 percent capacity limit, no food and no drink)
- Beauty and nail parlors (closing time 9 p.m. and advance booking only)
- Tattoo parlors. But only if you are fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours service.)
- Massage parlors and spas. No, not the soapy kind. And you need to book in advance and be fully vaccinated or test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours.
- Public parks. But keep moving. No sitting or socializing.
- Outdoor sports stadiums, open-air swimming pools or indoor swimming pools with proper airflow (closing time 9 p.m.)
- Gyms (closing time 9 p.m., no sauna)
- Sports matches and competitions (based on permission and regulations from related agencies)
- Malls (closing time 9 p.m.)
- Productions of movies and television shows
- Theaters (based on permission and regulations from Bangkok’s Health Department, closing time 9 p.m.)
- Martial arts and dancing schools
- Weight loss facilities
- Amulets centers
- Venues that organize meeting rooms and ballrooms (only for traditional purposes such as weddings and no buffets)
- Hotels (no seminar)
Then there’s the list of places that will remain closed in October and, based on comments from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s spokesman, in November, too, even when Bangkok “reopens” to foreign tourists:
- Pubs, bars and karaoke lounges
- Bathing parlors
- Sauna activities
- Fun parks and water parks
- Playgrounds and children’s play equip.m.ent
- Sit-and-play gaming shops, internet shops and gaming arcades
- Exhibition halls and large meeting centers
- All indoor sports venues (except for the ones with proper airflow)
- Eldercare centers (except for overnight facilities)
- Cockfighting, bull-fighting and horse racing venues
More than 3.9 million people or 50.6 percent of Bangkok’s 7.7 million registered population have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday. There’s a long way to go to get to 70 percent by Nov. 1.