Home Coronavirus

It’s Official: Masks Now ‘Voluntary’ in Thailand

Thailand face mask wearing public

Mask-wearing in Thailand is now voluntary after a surprise late-night publication of the public-health order in the Royal Gazette Thursday.

Published at 10 p.m., the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration order covering the relaxation of eight coronavirus controls included the much-anticipated end of the country’s mask mandate.

While not explicitly stating that the wearing a mask or cloth face covering is now a voluntary practice outdoors, caveats included certainly imply that nothing will change on public transport, in shopping malls, government buildings, concert and sports stadiums and other “crowded” or “poorly ventilated” venues.

Government agencies and private companies can still require people wear masks on their property.

The order notes that the Public Health Ministry still advises those at risk of being infected and having severe symptoms or death older people or those with congenital or respiratory diseases – should always wear a mask when with other people.

In the case where a person is infected with Covid-19 or is a high-risk contact, it is necessary to wear a mask properly at all times, the order states.

“People are asked to consider the benefits of wearing a mask,” the order concludes.

The Royal Gazette bulletin also made official with immediate effect the cancelation of the “blue” tourism pilot zones and redesignation of all provinces to “green” zones.

Also now effective are the relaxation of measure governing movement and travel of migrant workers, and new guidelines for film crews.

Finally, the order listed a confusing, vague item that left people wondering if it referred to the Emergency Decree or extension of bar hours: “Extension of time for enforcement of disease control and prevention measures”.

What that is perhaps only the bureaucrats know.