According to Spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), all entertainment places in 41 provinces, including Bangkok, will be ordered to shut their doors for at least two weeks, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
The spokesman said the closure would take effect when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha signs the order at a meeting on Friday.
Health and security officials agreed in talks on Thursday that a blanket closure in all provinces was not necessary. They opted for what Dr Taweesilp called “target therapy” in provinces with the potential to spread COVID-19.
Their prime concern was the spread of the UK variant of the virus, with cases detected in Thailand for the first time.
The target provinces were those plagued by new infections and those at risk because they were a gateway, or main passage, for travelers, he said.
The decision comes ahead of the long Songkran holiday next week, when millions of people will hit the roads for vacations or family reunions.
The 41 provinces where all entertainment venues – bars, pubs, clubs and karaoke bars – will be closed are: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Buri Ram, Chachoengsao, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chonburi, Chumphon, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Lamphang, Loei, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Ranong, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram, Saraburi, Songkhla, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Tak, Udon Thani, and Yala.
All 20 provinces hit by the Thong Lor cluster are included in the 41-province list.
The CCSA spokesman said there would be no U-turn on the closure decision. The centre decided to make it public ahead of the signing of the order on Friday so that businesses could prepare in advance.
The meeting on Friday would also announce a work from home policy for state agencies and encourage private firms to allow their employees to also work from home.
Note: Pattaya City is situated in Chonburi province and will also take the effect from the closing order by the CCSA.