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Phuket Completely Revokes Mask Order, Capping Incompetent Week of Flip-Flops

A public sign in Phuket telling people to wear masks ... at the beach.
A public sign in Phuket telling people to wear masks ... at the beach.

Capping half a week of flip-flops and miscommunication, Phuket’s governor on Friday completely rescinded two orders he issued earlier this week relaxing outdoor face mask rules, again returning the province to muzzled-up status.

The bureaucratic sideshow would have been comical had people not been so sick of being forced to pointlessly wear masks outdoors, at the beach in parks and other places where they’re not in close contact with others. Instead, it served as another illustration of Thailand’s bureaucratic incompetence.

Gov. Narong Woonciew on May 31 issued a directive that was seen as a blanket end to the outdoor face mask mandate in the province. The order was so poorly worded and vague that it was misconstrued and misinterpreted across the country.

So on Thursday night, Narong sought to clean up his mess, issuing at 8:22 p.m. order clarifying the May 31 order to state that masks would still be required except in four instances:

  • While eating or drinking,
  • While verifying identity with government officials,
  • While exercising outdoors,
  • While at the beach, parks or stadium, as long as people can remain two meters apart.

Then, on Friday, Narong signed yet another proclamation, revoking all his earlier missives. The result? Masks are still required everywhere in public, regardless if you’re lying alone on the beach or eating in a park alone.

Bangkok’s governor said he also is considering doing away with the idiot mask mandate as daily coronavirus cases drop to their lowest numbers of the year. Perhaps he’ll be able to string enough words together as to not make a Phuket-style mockery of the process.