The decision of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration to reopen full-blown nightlife in tourist provinces from June 1 has caused considerable mirth in Thailand’s best-known entertainment city. Amongst the suggested anti-Covid safeguards is that people aged 60 and above should keep out of bars, gogo clubs and karaokes in the interests of themselves and of public health.
The news was greeted with some skepticism in the Tree Tops bar complex. “Most foreigners here are potential ancient history,” said Frank Lambert, a 67 year-old Brit as he devoured a tasty plateful at Sharples fish and chips cafe. At Heaven Massages on Second Road, Miss Wong pointed out that Pattaya is the city with more bald-headed motor bike drivers than anywhere on earth.
Further recommendations from the CCSA are that face masks are worn during close encounters between customers and staff, a recent negative Covid test on entering premises and daily screening/regular testing of all employees. A security officer at Stones disco on Walking Street confirmed that ATK-tests were available for all, adding that visits by police were mostly confined to enforcing closing time which remains at midnight next month.
In allied developments, the Ministry of Health has said that abolishing the pre-registration Thailand Pass bureaucracy for aliens could happen in July, but that depends on the virus prevalence nationwide during the next 30 days. A positive decision then would mean that foreign tourists and expats would perhaps need only their passport to board a plane as in pre-Covid days. They would enter their vaccination details on the TM6 entry card handed out on the airplane to all arrivals.
However, a spokesman refused to confirm that the US$10,000 insurance bond would also be dropped if Thailand Pass was cancelled, saying a decision had not been made. The insurance requirement elsewhere in the region is a mixed bag. Cambodia and Laos do not require any medical cover for entry, but warn foreigners they are responsible for their own health costs. The Philippines does impose a US$35,000 bond on most arriving foreigners which can prove a problem for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.