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Thailand to Celebrate End of Lockdown with July 4-7 Holiday

Government stresses extended Buddhist holiday weekend is not promised Songkran 3-day break

Government stresses extended Buddhist holiday weekend is not promised Songkran 3-day break
Thailand will throw its own type of 4th of July party after lockdown ends.

Thailand will celebrate the end of the nation’s economic lockdown with a four-day holiday July 4-7 after the Cabinet today extended the long Asalaha Bucha weekend.

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome – who originally proposed that Songkran be rescheduled for July 7-9 – said that July 7 would be designated a national holiday. It follows Asalaha Bucha Day, the start of Buddhist Lent, whch falls on the previous weekend.

Kunplome emphasized this was not the promised Songkran three-day rescheduled holiday. A date for that will be determined after the government begins spending 400 million baht to revitalized the economy next month. But Kunplome originally suggested it could take place at the same time as HM the King’s birthday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, however, snuffed out the idea of a July Songkran, calling it “inappropriate”, unnecessary and an obstacle to government operations. He said he’d prefer to see the three holidays reallocated individually, perhaps to make three long weekends before the end of the year.

The holiday announcement comes as the government appears ready to allow the three-month-long emergency decree to expire June 30. If it does it, the holiday sets up a boisterous Thai-style Fourth of July party that, hopefully, won’t spark the massive resurgence of the coronavirus wave that the U.S. has seen.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said today that the topic of extending the decree did not come up at the Cabinet meeting, asking reporters, “why would it be discussed if it wasn’t going to be extended?”

The less-than-subtle hint could mean that all business-closure orders – including those governing bars, clubs and boxing stadiums — would automatically end on June 30. But, shortly after his deputy spoke, Prayut contradicted him, saying it still could be extended until after the stimulus strategy ends.

After that, Wissanu said, the government would no longer have to power to not impose broad lockdowns, but could shut individual venues using the Communicable Disease Control Act.

The rescheduled Songkran became necessary when Thailand canceled the Thai New Year celebration, lunar calendar be damned, during the strictest stage of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.