Within an hour or two of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s announcement yesterday that five types of business – notably spas and massage parlours – would be allowed to reopen today with safeguards, the government’s top health committee reversed the decision. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said in a Facebook message that it was delaying implementation until June 14 at the earliest. Under the state of emergency still in force nationally, the CCSA has that prerogative.
Although no reasons for the block were given, the recent surge in infections in the capital was the likely reason. The BMA had hoped that because cluster outbreaks had largely been confined to crowded locations – mostly slums, shanty towns and markets – it might be possible to resume business in massage parlours, beauty clinics, nail salons, museums and tattoo shops. Public parks were also scheduled to reopen with the proviso that no large groups or picnics occurred. All these proposals are now on hold.
On hearing the initial announcement for Bangkok, Pattaya business owners immediately began lobbying City Hall and the office of the provincial governor to loosen the restrictions in the resort. Several massage parlours began spring-cleaning before the government’s policy reversal was announced last night. Provincial governors have the authority to intensify CCSA instructions but not to mollify them.
In other words, there is no change. All entertainment or enjoyment venues remain shuttered and the drinking of alcohol remains outlawed in restaurants. Meanwhile, Pattaya authorities are concentrating on a hurried vaccination roll-out program for citizens and expats to try and reach 70 percent “herd-immunity”success by October. At that time, the hope is that Pattaya will become a Sandbox city which fully vaccinated foreign tourists can visit without quarantine. Phuket is intending to host a similar pilot scheme starting next month, but many details are still up in the air.