Phuket allows removing masks in outdoor locations

Phuket allows healthy people to take off masks when in outdoor locations such as beaches, parks and stadiums. Bangkok will also follow as soon as possible.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew has just signed an order allowing people in this southern island province to wear masks when in certain places and in certain situations. This is a new move to continue easing restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Bangkok Post.

The order is based on a resolution made during a meeting of the Phuket Provincial Communicable Diseases Committee.

Accordingly, the wearing of masks is still required to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, especially in places where there is no wind, no ventilation or crowded places.

However, people are allowed to take off their face coverings when they need to confirm their identity with the authorities, eat and exercise in large areas, at the beach, in parks and places where a distance of 2 meters is possible.

The order is in effect from June 1 until further notice.

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Tourists relax on Patong beach in Phuket. Masks are no longer required on beaches where people can stay at least 2m apart. Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran.

Violators of the above regulation can be fined up to 20,000 baht under Section 51 of the Communicable Diseases Act 2015. They can also be found in breach of the 2005 emergency decree and serve a prison sentence of not more than 2 year and/or a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

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Don Limnanthapisit, Chairman of the Muang Kao Phuket community, said he did not see anything new in the order, except for cases where the wearing of masks is exempt.

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Many residents said they understood that the Provincial Committee for Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control was still concerned about Covid-19.

Tanes Tantipiriyakit, chairman of the Phuket Tourism Board, said what was new in the order was that people were allowed to not wear masks at beaches, parks and stadiums if they stood at least 2 meters apart.

In Bangkok, the new Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said he also wanted people to be able to remove their masks as soon as possible amid the decline of the Covid-19 epidemic.

However, Mr. Chadchart said he would have to consult with experts and the health department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The governor of Bangkok will also discuss with officials about extending the opening hours of parks, pubs, bars and karaoke. Doing so could reduce the density of people coming to these places, he explained.

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Dr Kiatiphum Wongrajit, Permanent Secretary for Public Health, said Covid-19 restrictions are expected to be eased in mid-June.

He said mandatory mask-wearing would be limited to people with underlying medical conditions, the elderly, and pregnant women and would remain in place in poorly ventilated and crowded areas.

@ Zing News

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