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Covid Cops Now Eyeing Oct. 1 to Enforce Vaccine Requirement for Restaurant Guests, Staff

Unable to force it on restaurants when they reopened Sept. 1, the government is eyeing Oct. 1 for the start of a rule requiring customers of “high risk” businesses “dark red” coronavirus control zones to be fully vaccinated.

No rule yet has been promulgated and Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration has not yet received any proposal, but Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director general of the Public Health Ministry’s Health Department, said the requirement and enforcement is coming soon.

The government sees vaccine passports as the best way to allow businesses to reopen amid continuing high numbers of daily coronavirus cases.

Thailand on Monday reported 13,988 new coronavirus cases and 187 deaths. It was the first daily tally below 14,000 in weeks, but still three times the daily total Thailand was seeing when lockdown measures imposed July 2. Those restrictions are now being lifted even though the crisis remains critical.

Government officials, apparently living in a fantasy world, see restaurants, hair salons, spas and other businesses at high risk for coronavirus transmission checking every patron’s vaccination certificate or recent, negative Covid-19 antigen test result before allowing them to walk through the door.

Customers also will be required to fill in a form detailing their infection risk through using the government’s “Thai Save Thai” app. To see how well that works, refer to current Thai Chana usage or, even better, the written contract tracing logs businesses are supposed to keep.

In addition, staff at high-risk businesses would need to be fully vaccinated and undergo weekly Covid-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status.

Lastly, businesses will be ordered to clean every touch surface at least every two hours and install expensive high-efficiency particulate air filters in their air-conditioning units.

The ministry and CCSA tried to foist these untenable and unenforceable restrictions on restaurants when they reopened Sept. 1. But bureaucrats were forced to back down, calling it a “pilot project”, in the face of the government’s laughable effort to vaccinate the public and the expense that would be borne by business owners to test employees weekly.

To date, Thailand has only fully vaccinated 12 percent of its population. Restricting restaurant, salon and spa customers to only those who received two jabs would drastically reduce the already small number of patrons.

The government also failed to explain how such a system would be enforced. To see how well that will go, survey the number of coffee cups filled with booze sitting on tables of pubs and restaurants around town during the supposed alcohol ban.

One thing missing from the new proposal, however, is the idea of green and yellow cards indicating a person’s vaccination status. Apparently someone with sense pointed out to the bureaucrats that no such cards exist and can’t be issued any time soon.