COVID-19: Thailand to reopen certain businesses starting Sunday as situation improves

Thailand will be reopening six types of businesses and venues nationwide from Sunday (May 3) with guidelines. – Filepic/REUTERS

BANGKOK: Thailand will be reopening six types of businesses and venues nationwide from Sunday (May 3) with guidelines to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 infection as the COVID-19 situation in the kingdom continues to improve with single-digit new cases this week.

The six types of businesses and venues are markets, eateries outside shopping malls, wholesale and retail businesses, parks and outdoor sports facilities (not for team sports), barber shops and hair salons (only limited to cut, shampoo and blow), pet grooming and pet hotels.

Shopping malls, cinema and theatres, gyms and spas, indoor sports venues including boxing stadiums are to remain closed to avoid large gatherings.

Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said the guidelines to reopen these businesses and venues would be standardised nationwide by CCSA and provincial governors could impose stricter measures if necessary but not less stringent.

"The reopening can start on May 3. The government will observe and evaluate the situation every 14 days.

"If the situation improves, we will include more businesses and activities in the relaxation. However, the government will reverse the relaxation if the number of new cases increases," he said at his daily COVID-19 briefing today.

He added that all operators have to follow regulations and health measures to reduce risks of a second wave of infections.

Thailand has extended an emergency decree to combat the pandemic until May 31. Measures including a ban on incoming international passenger flights, night curfew from 10 pm to 4 am, ban on sales of alcohol, prohibiting inter-provincial travel and mass gathering will continue under the emergency decree.

Today, Thailand reported seven new COVID-19 cases and zero fatalities, bringing total cases to 2,954 and the death toll remaining at 54. It is the fourth consecutive day of new cases in single digit.

Of the 2,954 cases, 2,687 have been discharged from hospitals.