From Sep 1, certain businesses and public spaces, including restaurants, salons, massagers, and public parks, will reopen to the public. But with a catch: some may require full vaccination or proof of recent recovery from Covid-19.
After two months of quasi-lockdown
, Bangkok has now lifted a few pandemic restrictions, allowing restaurants and certain businesses to open their doors once again.
According to Apisamai Sriransan the assistant spokeswoman of Center for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), dining in restaurants will be allowed with the following conditions:
1. Restaurants are required to adjust their seatings according to social distancing policies: open-air restaurants will be allowed to serve customers at 75% of capacity while those with enclosed spaces and air-conditioning will be limited to 50% of their seatings.
2. Restaurant staff must be either fully vaccinated—with two doses of an approved vaccine—or undergo testing with an antigen testing kit (ATK) every three to seven days.
3. Visitors must show proof of having received two doses of an approved vaccine (no information about Jannsen’s one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was provided).
No information concerning the sale of alcohol was provided, although it seems safe to assume it remains off the table indefinitely.
Barbers and beauty clinics, meanwhile, will be allowed to reopen, but only by advanced booking—no walk-ins allowed. The new policy only permits people to have their hair cut for a maximum duration of one hour. The same goes for massage parlors, which can only provide the foot massage services for up to 60 minutes.
People can also enter venues like public parks and open-air sport centers, though the nighttime curfew remains in effect from 9pm to 4am.
Venues such as cinemas, gyms, spas, tutoring schools, and bars are not included in the eased restrictions.
With only about 9% of the population nationwide fully inoculated and the burden pushed on the restaurant owners or employees to pay for costly ATK tests, questions about the feasibility of the new policies remain. Officials have revealed that about 90% of adults in Bangkok have received their first jab, however, suggesting that progress is being made in the capital.
Today, Thailand recorded 18,702 Covid-19 cases out of roughly 50,000 tests performed and 273 deaths. According to the CCSA, Thailand plans to import over 70 million doses of vaccines by December (12 million doses of Sinovac; 28 million doses of AstraZeneca; and 20 million doses of Pfizer.)