The Thai government’s top health committee, backed by the prime minister, has announced the next set of laws to try and contain coronavirus. They take effect in all provinces from Sunday 18 April, from midnight, although there is slight variation of administrative details according to whether the province is labeled red or orange. Chonburi, including Pattaya, is red.
However, the government is not necessarily the last word as provincial governors have the power to enforce further restrictions at their discretion and without seeking approval from Bangkok. But they do not have the power to lighten the burden imposed nationally. What follows is the situation in Chonburi province as the governor has not so far issued any further restrictions. He may or may not do so.
Enforcement: The new policy is initially for two weeks but can be extended or amended.
Curfew: There is no national curfew or restriction of movement overnight. If the Chonburi governor believes that a local curfew is necessary, the details would be issued from his office. In the past, such curfews have required exemption passes, issued by employers or the local authority, to be carried by travellers.
Inter-provincial travel: Some provinces have already introduced a ban on travel to and from their jurisdiction without special passes or a quarantine period. At present, Chonburi province has not imposed any restrictions to move into or out of the province.
Schools: They are currently on holiday and cannot reopen. There is an exemption for independent schools arranging external examinations.
Alcohol consumption: It is now illegal to consume alcoholic drinks in a restaurant, coffee shop or similar outlet. In-dining is permitted up to 9 pm and take-out orders allowed until 11 pm. Entertainment venues, such as bars, clubs, karaokes and soapy massage parlors were closed under a previous national order which remains in force. There is no ban on buying alcoholic drinks in a retail outlet for consumption at home.
Department stores and malls: They must close by 9 pm and not provide entertainment or promotional events of any kind. Convenience stores and similar must close between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am.
Gyms and fitness halls: They can remain open with limited numbers of spectators but must close at 9 pm.
Working from home: Strongly encouraged.
Quarantine facilities: Additional accommodation is sought for future Covid-19 patients as the hospitals are filling up. In Chonburi and Pattaya, closed hotels may well be the answer.
There is some ambiguity in the new regulations as regards many pursuits which are popular in Pattaya. For example, golf, swimming pools, parks, traditional massage (as opposed to soapies), beaches and snooker halls are not specifically mentioned. It is possible that these will be covered by Chonburi-specific instructions from the governor’s office. If not, the judgment will be left to common sense and on-the-spot interpretation by local police. However, the prime minister has observed that he is mindful of the economic hardship on businesses and individuals caused by the anti-virus policies.