By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya dips its toe into the waters of economic revival

By Barry Kenyon

August 28, 2021

The government’s top health committee has taken the plunge. Sort of anyway. The CCSA (Center forCovid-19 Situation Administration) spokesman said the relaxation of some Covid regulations is to enable the public to resume “as normal a life as possible.” The Bangkok Bank’s press release supported the move as necessary to rescue the drowning gross domestic product. Meanwhile, the media giant Bloomberg placed Thailand in the bottom countries of the world for business environment right now.

For Pattaya, one of the country’s dark-red zones, the new policy is a mixed bag. It is fine once again to open restaurants, golf courses, department stores, malls and the like. But the proviso that the staff should be doubly-vaccinated in most cases poses the question who can lawfully turn up for work. Thailand is a country where the majority of the population has not had its first injection yet. Moreover, the rollout in Pattaya is well behind that in Bangkok.

The same goes for the customers in some contexts. The CCSA section on restaurants specifically restricts the clientele to those who can prove double vaccination and/or produce a certificate showing they have taken a negative antigen test in the last seven days. Not to mention the limits on how full the restaurant can be and how social distancing is being enforced. These regulations fall to the police and local authority inspectors to enforce. If history is any guide, visits will be few and far between in the hundreds and hundreds of sois where eateries are to be found. The CCSA is silent on the serving of alcohol, but presumably it remains off the table. Perhaps literally.

The Pattaya farang expat population is delighted at the return of golf to resuscitate its somewhat mundane existence. But they are mostly elderly men and should note that the CCSA tells everyone over 60 to stay at home unless an outside duty-call is unavoidable. Perhaps the answer is that golf is indeed as essential as that. Other oddities in the rules are that haircuts must not last longer than an hour, a very generous discretion to the many baldies in Pattaya, and that beauty shops are open but only for the sale of products and not for personal services.

At one time there were hundreds of Pattaya massage parlors, but many had closed permanently for lack of customers before the current lockdown took effect. How many will actually reopen on September 1 remains to be seen. All staff have to be fully vaccinated and must restrict the massage to feet and the lower leg. Customers must also be masked and limit their attendance to sixty minutes. Things ain’t what they used to be and the curfew will still begin at 21.00 hours.

The new rules are silent on the immediate future of Pattaya beaches and swimming in the sea. This awesome subject is likely to be the subject of a Chonburi governor’s proclamation expected in a few days which, incidentally, could ink in other details as well. But the real issue is enforcement. Voluntarism simply doesn’t work as many people push discretionary clauses to their limit to reduce the boredom. The CCSA takes the view that Thailand’s current health crisis has peaked. Let’s hope they’re right.

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/pattay ... val-369495

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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I can’t imagine restaurants or the authorities asking dine in customers to show proof of 2 shots or a negative Covid test.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Just brilliant. As I got my first AZ jab two weeks ago, I'll have to wait another 10 weeks before dining out.

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thewayhelooks wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:10 pm
Just brilliant. As I got my first AZ jab two weeks ago, I'll have to wait another 10 weeks before dining out.
I am in a similar situation be rest assured I will be eating in a restaurant Wednesday!
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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The part on my "I Don't Get It" list is why they closed all the restaurants in the first place. Before, when they had Covid under relative control, restaurants were mandated to follow rules for how to operate. Every restaurant I had gone to was complying and doing that. Maybe my memory is wrong, but I don't recall people going to restaurants that were following the rules and then ending up with Covid. Why not apply the same rules now and let restaurants operate normally?

I certainly agree with restaurants following reasonable precautions, but I don't see why overkill is necessary.

As for the massages, according to the article - "must restrict the massage to feet and the lower leg." As far as I'm concerned, they missed one of the main reasons I would go to massage parlors by about two feet . . .

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Gaybutton wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:56 pm
Why not apply the same rules now and let restaurants operate normally?
Once a government requires people to have vaccines for certain group activities, they create an incentive for the doubters to be vaccinated.
That's a good policy and I'm in favour of it. Why should we have to share restaurants with people who refuse vaccines ?

However, it would be fairer to wait until everyone has had the opportunity of 2 vaccines. That's what the UK government is doing. People will, for example, need 2 vaccines to enter nightclubs from the end of September.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 4:15 pm
Why should we have to share restaurants with people who refuse vaccines ?
I don't have a problem with that at all. As I said, I know of no cases where anyone got Covid as a result of eating in a restaurant. No matter where you go, restaurants, grocery stores, 7-Eleven, getting into an elevator, or whatever, you have no way of knowing who has or has not been vaccinated. I fail to see a reason why it should be any different at restaurants.

Also, you don't have to share restaurants with people who refuse vaccines. If you're worried about it, you don't have to go to restaurants.

In any case, to me this rule about vaccines and antigen tests reaches new heights in absurdity. Unless the restaurants are willing to comply, with the number of restaurants, the number of hours they are open, and the lack of enough police manpower, I don't see how it is enforceable. If the restaurants do comply, this is going to get very old, very fast - for the restaurants, the staff, and the customers, especially if a lot of arguments or even fights start breaking out.

I am guessing these rules won't last very long and will end up being rescinded, amended, or ignored. I'm waiting to see what will happen. With so many people who haven't even been able to get their first dose, let alone the second dose, how many restaurants will even open right away? If I were a restaurateur who depends on dining-in customers much more than take-away customers, I might not be in such a rush to reopen - not until enough customers have been fully vaccinated and can comply with these rules to make it worth reopening.

The one thing I don't see mentioned - and I am still convinced it will come to this - immigration. Am I the only one who thinks immigration will soon require proof of vaccination in order to obtain the retirement visa - or any other visa for that matter? When you get whatever they'll give you as proof of vaccination, you better have it dipped in bronze or something. If it is ever lost or damaged, lord only knows what you'll have to go through to get a replacement.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Gaybutton wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 5:18 pm
I don't have a problem with that at all. As I said, I know of no cases where anyone got Covid as a result of eating in a restaurant. No matter where you go, restaurants, grocery stores, 7-Eleven, getting into an elevator, or whatever, you have no way of knowing who has or has not been vaccinated. I fail to see a reason why it should be any different at restaurants.
There are thousands of covid cases per day. I bet you don't know where any of them caught covid, never mind all of them.
Restaurants are one of the few places where people don't wear masks, for obvious reasons, so the risk goes up.
Finally, people spend more time in restaurants than 7-elevens, so applying different rules makes sense.

Gaybutton wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 5:18 pm
Also, you don't have to share restaurants with people who refuse vaccines. If you're worried about it, you don't have to go to restaurants.
The same argument could be applied to smoking bans. I also see no reason why restaurant staff should have to share the premises with the unvaccinated.

Gaybutton wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 5:18 pm
I am guessing these rules won't last very long and will end up being rescinded, amended, or ignored. I'm waiting to see what will happen.
Probably.
Ideally they would start the rule immediately after all adults have been offered vaccines, run it for a few months, along with similar rules for some other activities to persuade the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, then stop.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Sat Aug 28, 2021 7:13 pm
I bet you don't know where any of them caught covid
You would lose that bet. I know where many caught Covid. The Pattaya News was listing the locations almost daily - you know - that all important data.

And guess what - almost none of them occurred at restaurants (even when they were still open), but many did stem from 7-Elevens and similar locations.

Of course, you may not believe that if you don't trust the data . . .


Here's the Data I trust:

Image

I'm not the only one who thinks the new rules are overkill and ridiculous:
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Restaurateurs fume at new rules

Staff, customers must have 2 jabs and antigen tests weekly

28 Aug 2021

Restaurant and retail operators have vented their deep disappointment over the government's new directives, saying such requirements are impractical and unrealistic.

Leading restaurant chains such as Minor Food, the Mall Group, Zen Plc and Mae Sri Ruen restaurant all predict it is unlikely they can revive their business with the new guidelines issued by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday.

The CCSA lifted most restrictions on retail and dining from next month. Restaurants are allowed to resume dine-in services, with 75% capacity allowed for outdoor dining spaces and 50% for air-conditioned locations.

But all service staff at restaurants must have two doses of vaccine and be tested with antigen test kits every 5-7 days. The new guidelines also require customers to show proof of vaccination and have negative tests before entering restaurants.

"This means only a small number of customers will be allowed to dine in restaurants. We plan to only open restaurants where we already provide delivery," said Prapat Siangjan, chief operating officer of Minor Food Group.

"The new directive does not help restaurant operators as much as we hoped, so it is better to keep our 280 restaurants shuttered until more practical guidelines are provided. We will only open some branches when we are confident it will not lead to a loss."

Mr Prapat called on the government to relax the measure by reducing the staff requirement to one jab.

Chan Ruengrung, executive vice-president of Mae Sri Ruen restaurant chain, said that it is very difficult for both restaurant operators and customers to follow the new restaurant's guidelines.

"Thais love freedom. They will not be happy to take an antigen test every time they want to eat at a restaurant," he said. "This requirement is not practical because restaurants are never as crowded as supermarkets or convenience stores.

Mr Chan said roughly 50% of his restaurant staff received a first jab and none have a second shot.

"We believe many restaurateurs are in the same situation. If the government really wants to help us, it should prioritise restaurant employees for vaccine allocation, he said.

Mae Sri Ruen has closed three restaurants permanently in the first half this year and plans to shutter two more restaurants soon.

Voralak Tulaphorn, chief marketing officer of the Mall Group Co, said it is quite difficult to ask all of the Mall's tenants to have two jabs.

"Could the CCSA ease the requirement to only one jab and one antigen test a month?" asked Ms Voralak.

Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive at Zen Corporation Plc, the operator of Zen, AKA, On the Table and Tummour chains, called for flexibility on the condition of two jabs.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/21 ... -new-rules

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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For the latest about restaurant vaccine regulations, see: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10654&p=105199#p105199
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Hundreds of Thai visa holders unable to fly to UK

By Barry Kenyon

August 30, 2021

The UK government’s decision to move Thailand from neutral amber to danger red in its idiosyncratic traffic lights travel system has doomed the immediate travel prospects of Thais with valid UK visas needing a flight. There are believed to be about 300 in this urgent category, mostly tourists and business travellers. Under the red signal which came into effect on 30 August, only British and Irish nationals and Thais with permanent residency (not a temporary visa) are allowed to enter the UK. The British embassy in Bangkok has also confirmed that some higher level Thai students are also eligible to fly as they do have residency rights.

The red signal news was announced late last week and led to a panic amongst British vacationers on the Sandbox initiative in Phuket who tried to book emergency flights back home to avoid the 2,285 pounds fee for the 10 days compulsory hotel quarantine on landing in UK. However, they found that rebooking at short notice incurred extra flight charges running into hundreds, even thousands, of pounds. The British government’s move to change Thailand’s Covid status was mostly unexpected as infection numbers here are falling.

VFS Global in Bangkok, the agency handling visa applications, has sent a memo to all Thais waiting to collect their UK visa that they should not do so until “further advised”. The next scheduled announcements for the UK traffic lights system will be on September 15, though there is no guarantee Thailand will be moved back to amber at that time. The UK department of Transport bases its decisions not just on the overall number of infections and recoveries, but on testing procedures and ability to handle variants of the pesky virus. Many travel gurus expect an October relaxation if all goes well in Thailand.

Miss Oy Boonayan, girlfriend of a British Sandboxer on vacation, said she had obtained a UK visitor visa but was now unable to fly because of the latest restrictions. Her boyfriend was also stuck in Thailand as he was poorly insured and did not have the funds to pay for quarantine in London. She said he had contacted a crisis line run by the British embassy and attempts were being made to contact relatives in England for extra cash. Oy said her own visa would soon run out and she had contacted VFS to find out if she could have an extension.

Wealthier Thais with a valid UK visa are exploring the possibility of taking an indirect routing and then flying to Britain from a non-red country. The Department of Transport rules state that anyone arriving in UK must not have been in a red country in the last 10 days with stiff penalties for anyone caught telling lies. The UK Border Agency has said that anyone arriving with a passport from a red country, irrespective of routing, is subject to additional scrutiny. Whatever that means.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... -uk-369789

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