Following an announcement by the prime minister and publication of new rules in the Royal Gazette, effective January 4, in “red zones” such as Chonburi province (inc. Greater Pattaya):
Fears that they may have to close in-dining proved wrong at this stage. Restaurants, which must have the proper certificates, can continue to serve customers at tables and offer a take-out service too. But the owners are required to test temperatures, require hand sanitizing, collect names and phone numbers (preferably by an authorized tracing app) and enforce social distancing. Because provincial governors have the authority to close any premises in the interest of limiting coronavirus spread, it would perhaps be wise for restaurants to limit numbers to 50 percent of capacity and have a limit of two people per table. Alcohol sales for consumption in a restaurant are forbidden. You are advised that the old scam of putting wine or beer in tea cups is well-known to the authorities.
Bars, clubs, massages, barbers, etc.
The latest rules appear to place responsibility in the hands of the provincial governor. They are already closed in the Pattaya area and will remain so unless previous orders are rescinded. This is most unlikely. If alcohol consumption was permitted in Pattaya bars whilst being banned in Bangkok (an example), then Pattaya would become a magnet for drinkers nationwide in a province which already has the second-highest recorded coronavirus infections in the country. Under a previous order, massage parlours of all kinds cannot open. The position of hairdressers is still slightly ambiguous, with some having closed and others offering a limited service of haircuts only.
Shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.
These are allowed to remain open for the sale of food and essential household items. Some other categories such as mobile phone and construction shops can likely continue. The latest rulings place the final responsibility in the hands of provincial governors, and it is likely that the Chonburi governor will update the local requirements soon. Expect to see far more rigorous enforcement of temperature taking, recording of names and phone numbers, social distancing, etc. A previous notice stated that malls would close at 9 pm.
There are no formal restrictions in place, but people travelling between provinces may be checked at road blocks, and their temperature taken, to ascertain their reasons for travel. There could be additional road checks within or near the city itself. Previous announcements stated that minivans would be of particular interest as they may be transporting guest workers, a high risk group according to government figures, from one province to another. Provinces can impose travel restrictions and even quarantine travellers from outside their area. This is a subject on which the situation may change regularly as provincial governors have huge discretion.
Social gatherings, food handouts, beaches, etc.
People should avoid gathering in groups, notably on beaches which still remain open at the time of writing. There is no definition of a group, but a previous announcement said “more than four persons”. No meetings, conferences or organized food hand-outs are permitted unless organized or permitted in writing by the local authority. People gathered round a pool table or obviously socializing in private premises could easily be regarded as an offence. Don’t forget too that Thailand is famous for informers and there is no shortage of official hotlines (police, city hall) to report miscreant behaviour. If you are enjoying yourself, a neighbor might get jealous!