Thailand lurched to its third stage of reopening its economy Monday with more businesses resuming business amid heavy restrictions that continue to eat away at the bottom line.
In Chiang Mai, local shops and interprovincial transport services were buzzing early, with travelers showing up at the Arcade Bus Station to get out of town.
Soldiers were among the travelers after the military finally give the OK for troops allowed to take leave.
Bus riders are required to wear face masks and undergo body-temperature scans before boarding. Inside, passengers were seated well apart to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of the June 1 reopening was that Phuket opened all entry and exit points for people to travel in and out by land and water.
Phuket International Airport remains closed, however, with no word on when it will reopen. That decision rests with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.
Gov. Pakapong Tawipat said no new coronavirus cases were reported in the island and all confirmed cases in the province recovered and returned home.
People can leave Phuket by land without restriction. However, strict screening for body temperature and registration are maintained at the Tha Chat Chai checkpoint for those entering the province.
Also reopening were natural attractions such as Mon Chaem mountain in Mae Rim District of Chiang Mai, which welcomed visitors its temperate flower zone. Local vendors also reopened their souvenir shops.
Buddha amulet markets also opened their doors, but many lamented that their usual customers are mostly Chinese, Malaysian and Singaporean tourists still banned from the country.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, tourists stopped over to see a blossoming grass field covering hundreds of rai on a hill by Highway 3060 in Ban Wang Khon of Wang Nam Khieo District.
The farmland now blanketed with blossoming grass will be turned into a vast cornfield when farmers start their seasonal crop in less than a month.
Markets and depots weren’t the only things to reopen: So did prisons. After a long closure, family visits resumed.
At Suphan Buri Prison, Warden Somsak Khiaw-On said all visitors must apply in advance, check-in with the government’s Thai Chana contact-tracing app, undergo temperature scans and wear masks.
Prisons worldwide have been some of the hottest zones for Covid-19 transmission.
In Nakhon Phnom, officials checked 1,929 restaurants, fresh markets and businesses with just 82 percent complying with disease-control measures.
Gov. Siam Sirimongkol said the province nonetheless is preppring schools to reopen next month. Until then, institutions will be allowed to hold classes, training, conventions and examinations, while day-care centers open for the staff to arrange lunch distribution.
Health, sports and recreational activities, including fitness centers, are allowed to reopen, but with capacity control, no group activities and no saunas or steam rooms. Boxing training centers can open only for individual training, while stadia can open only for exercises and practice.
Nakhon Phanom also has reduced the number of provinces subjected to interprovincial travel restrictions. Those coming from Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Phuket, Yala, and Narathiwat still will be forced into 14 days of quarantining if coming to the province.