The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

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Re: The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

Post by Gaybutton »

Several people have been insisting it is not necessary to wear a face mask in Thailand. I have been insisting yes it is.
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Foreigners in Thailand warned about not wearing face masks

by snoop1130

November 22, 2021

Foreigners in Thailand who fail to wear a face mask when out in public face prosecution, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesperson Apisamai Srirangson warned on Monday.

According to Dr Apisamai many foreigners who have arrived in Thailand since its reopening have not been wearing face masks as required and have also been gathering in groups and at parties.

Dr Apisamai said this behaviour had resulted in COVID-19 transmissions, without being more specific.

Dr Apisamai reiterated the rules regarding face masks in Thailand and said that people who fail to wear a face mask when out in public or at gatherings face possible fines of up to 20,000 baht.

The rule also applies to visitors.

The message regarding the requirements to wear face masks was also repeated at the end of Monday’s English language briefing from the CCSA.

https://aseannow.com/topic/1240410-fore ... ace-masks/

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Re: The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

Post by Gaybutton »

Be careful about bargain hotel prices.

Also, despite some people vehemently arguing with me, again I stress that you must wear the face mask when out in public. If you don't, be prepared to face the consequences if caught.
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Thailand reopening: Deceitful hotels tricking tourists are "letting the country down and damaging its image"

by: webfact

November 23, 2021

The CCSA spokeswoman Dr Apisamai Srirangsan has slammed deceitful hotels in Thailand who are utilizing sharp practices in an effort to get bookings.

She has said that the actions of such hotels are letting Thailand down and damaging the image of the country in the wake of its reopening to foreign tourists that started on November 1st.

With 22 days gone the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration met with reps from pilot areas yesterday.

Some reported that hotels were only charging for rooms in the packages they advertised. Hidden charges for things like mandatory transfer from airports and ATK and RT-PCR test costs were not included.

Tourists thus had a nasty shock when arriving that they had to pay more.

In addition if tourists tested positive for Covid or needed to change hotels they were finding they could not get refunds on their bookings.

"These sharp practices, while admitting that they are only being done by a few hotels, are letting down the country and damaging our image," said Dr Apisamai.

The comments were contained in a report by Naew Na that also reported that hotels in the pilot areas reported that many foreigners were not complying with mask wearing rules and gathering in groups for parties.

This has been reported elsewhere on ASEAN NOW today with officials reiterating that mask wearing is mandatory in most settings with fines up to 20,000 baht in place.

Such comments have only added grist to the mill to people critical of the country with online comments saying that Thailand's reopening is little more than a sham.

https://aseannow.com/topic/1240472-thai ... its-image/

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Re: The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

Post by Gaybutton »

Part of the first article says that when the entertainment venues and bars reopen, "no staff close interaction with customers".

Does this mean at the bars, both beer bars and go-go bars, customers will not be permitted to have a boy sit with them? I don't see any other way to interpret the meaning of that.
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Recap of today’s Covid-19 center meeting in Thailand: Emergency Decree, Color coding zones, status of entertainment venues

By Nop Meechukhun

26 November 2021

Highlights:

* Emergency Decree proposed to be extended until the end of January

* New color coding zones implemented, Chonburi downgraded from Red to Orange

* Entertainment venues will reopen, as scheduled, on January 16th, 2022, although there is potential for earlier opening still the CCSA stated.

* As for any change on the alcohol ban in restaurants in Chonburi/Pattaya, this will need to wait for Governor and Communicable Disease Committee approval, if at all. There is no guarantee of this happening.


The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today, November 26th, has announced the rezoning of provinces nationwide and several changes in preventive measures, including reconsideration of entertainment venues, reopening.

Firstly, the government has agreed to extend the emergency decree nationwide for the 15th time to control the spread of the disease, to be implemented from December 1st, 2021, to January 31st, 2022. There had been a previous discussion around replacing the decree with communicable disease laws, however, this is not going to take place for now as it would need a debate in Parliament and some politicians were concerned with certain parts of the proposed laws. This needs the final approval of the Thai Cabinet but is nearly certain to happen notes TPN media.

The CCSA has also revoked the list of the maximum and strict control areas or the dark-red zone, which means that overnight curfew hours have now been officially canceled nationwide (By December 1st), resulting in 23 provinces listed in the strict control areas (red zone), 23 provinces in the controlled zone (orange), 24 provinces in the high surveillance areas (yellow), and 7 provinces in the pilot tourism zone (blue zone).

The blue zone has been increased for 4 to 7 provinces, namely Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phang Nga, Phuket. Chonburi is listed in the controlled zone (orange zone). The recategorization will be implemented on December 1st. TPN media notes that 19 areas in total are tourism areas, according to the graph, which includes cities and districts in provinces that are not entirely “blue”. This list was not given, however, and it was not clear if individual districts or cities that are blue (like Pattaya) would be able to lift alcohol bans at restaurants or other relaxation measures. Further information would likely be given by the Governor, if anything changes, before December 1st. Blue zones are given further relaxation measures, allowances for tourists to enter as a “sandbox” if not doing test and go and permission for more relaxed activities to boost tourism, although what these relaxations are differed by province and area and need Governor approval.

Chonburi, notes TPN media, is now an orange zone overall, downgraded from red.

Regarding the possibility of entertainment venues, like bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues reopening following the demand of the business entrepreneurs and workers, the CCSA general meeting has decided that they would work in line with operators to ensure that the reopening can be done at the earliest opportunity.

This means that the opening nationwide can, in theory, be done earlier than January 16th as previously announced by the CCSA in the last meeting if the situation is resolving and the operators are willing to abide by the strict preventive regulations. However, for the most part, the government is sticking to the January 16th, 2021, date as an “official” reopening date for entertainment venues, which means for now the status quo stays.

Starting this December, owners of entertainment venues are required to prepare official surveillance to inspect their legal permit, location, arrangements, and readiness for a possible reopening at the earliest time. More information on this is reportedly forthcoming from the CCSA, but the venues will need to be “Covid-free” zones and ensure that all staff is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Some other rules that will be effective are reportedly no karaoke, no dance floors, no promotions/parties, no shared drinks, and no staff close interaction with customers.

In short, at this time, only restaurants in high surveillance and pilot tourism areas are allowed to sell and drink alcoholic beverages until 9:00 PM, according to the CCSA. The businesses cannot be opened later than midnight and must strictly follow Covid Free Setting measures. This also needs Governor and provincial communicable disease committee approval, notes TPN media, which as of press time has not been given.

https://thepattayanews.com/2021/11/26/r ... nt-venues/
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As many of you know, in Phuket and Bangkok some bars have reopened illegally - and so far getting away with it with the right amounts of money exchanged with the right hands. I hesitate to call it greed since virtually all the bars are desperate to open, but the few acting illegally are causing problems for the vast majority of the bars playing by the rules. Because of the actions of a few, now the rest of the bars most likely can forget about the possibility of being allowed to reopen in December.

While I understand why some of these bars are doing this, along with customers - including farang - encouraging it, I don't understand why they have not been shut down, the owners arrested, and the police officers involved with accepting bribes to look the other way have not been fired and arrested.

Well, on second thought, I do understand why - and I have a feeling so do many of you . . .
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Pattaya’s bars to remain closed until next year, CCSA reaffirms

By Bangkok Herald

November 26, 2021

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday dashed hopes of a happy new year for Thailand’s bar and club operators, confirming nightlife entertainment venues will remain closed until Jan. 16.

While holding out hope that the reopening could be moved up “if” the Covid-19 situation improves, no criteria what “improves” means nor any possible earlier date was mentioned at the CCSA briefing this afternoon.

Nightlife business associations and operators across the country had been pressing local, provincial and national government agencies this month after the CCSA said reopening would not come until mid-January.

Earlier, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had told the national on television that nightlife’s rebirth would be “considered” for Dec. 1. Many people foolishly took that as a hard date and accused the government of breaking a promise and “pushing back” a date it had never confirmed.

The decision now not to yield to pressure and move up the reopening date before New Year’s Eve should surprise no one, especially given a new Covid-19 outbreak tied to illegally open bars on Phuket’s Bangla Road.

Masquerading as “restaurants” with an easily obtained restaurant license as a pretense, the beer and hostess bars along the popular nightlife strip have been packed for weeks, with local police happily taking a payoff to turn a blind eye. Until people started falling ill with Covid-19.

Mass testing was performed Nov. 23 and, according to local media, 10 bars were ordered closed for at least three days. On Thursday, local media also reported that 24 customers and bargirls at Bangla bars had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The island’s case count has climbed steadily this week, with 128 new cases reported Friday, up from 110 Thursday and 86 Nov. 22. Dr Witita Jang-iam, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, pointed the finger directly at bars for the surge.

Also weighing loudly against reopening bars was conservative Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who railed Thursday against illegally opened bars in Bangkok. He conveniently failed to point out those bars were open due to shady connections with local police.

Against such headwinds, it was unlikely the CCSA would strap on a pair of flip-flops on the Jan. 16 date.

The CCSA said nightlife venue could now “apply” for an as-yet-unspecified certification to reopen next month. Requirements likely will be that all staff is fully vaccinated and health officials still haven’t given up their unworkable pursuit of having all customers also be fully vaxed.

What likely will emerge over the next three weeks is a list of soon-ignored requirements that were put out last June mandating no singing, no dancing and no lady drinks.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... rms-380753

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Re: The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

Post by Gaybutton »

Meanwhile, still no alcohol in restaurants, no entertainment venues, and no bars are permitted to open in Pattaya and restaurants are still to close by 9:00pm.

"Some get the elevator. Some get the shaft."
Seems to me rather obvious which of the two Pattaya is getting . . .
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Eateries in Bangkok can serve alcohol until 11pm from December 1

by Thai PBS World

November 30, 2021

Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang issued an announcement today (Monday), further easing restrictions on eateries in the capital, by allowing them to serve alcohol to customers up to 11pm from December 1st.

According to the same announcement, eateries which have passed the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration’s standard of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, or the “Thai Stop COVID Plus” standard of the Health Services Department, can also serve alcohol up to 11pm.

Other venues, such as pubs, bars and massage parlours, will remain closed until further notice.

Since November 1st, eateries only in the capital and three other provinces (Krabi, Phang-nga and Phuket) in all of Thailand can serve alcoholic drinks up until 9pm. The alcohol ban remains in place in other tourist towns such as Pattaya, prompting the restaurateurs to seek the lifting of the ban sooner than January 16th, the D-Day for reopening of nightclubs and pubs in some provinces.

https://www.thaipbsworld.com/eateries-i ... ecember-1/

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Thailand reinstates one night quarantine for arrival

By Barry Kenyon

November 30, 2021

After much debate earlier in the week, the Thai prime minister has finally decided that all visitors must be isolated for several hours pending the result of their compulsory virus test. Under the “test and go” provisions of Thailand Pass, citizens of 63 countries must advance-book an approved hotel in Bangkok or Pattaya which will take responsibility for their transport and RT-PCR health check. Typically, the result takes between 10 and 15 hours and guests must remain in their pre-booked room during that time.

General Prayut Chan-ocha, the prime minister, said that the government had planned to abolish the PCR test and confined hotel stay in favor of an on-arrival antigen test kit, or ATK. This latter test takes only a few minutes to produce a result and would allow visitors to bypass the hotel regulation. However, the appearance last week end of the Omicron virus mutant had caused the government to cancel their plans and resume the hotel quarantine policy which has been in operation since November 1.

Deputy public health minister Sathit Pitutecha said the revamped policy would be revisited in a few weeks as more information becomes available about the latest public health scare. In the meantime, flights from eight southern African countries had been banned and Thailand Pass approvals withdrawn. Omicron was first notified by South Africa, although medics are stressing it could have its origin outside Africa.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is advising prospective tourists to book their one-night hotel package only through approved ASQ websites. There have been cases of unscrupulous hotels charging hidden extras for transport, the PCR test and meals. The Ministry of Health is also reminding air passengers that they must have in their possession the negative result of a PCR test taken in the country of departure less than 72 hours before the flight departure. Otherwise they will be refused boarding.

The World Health Organization said that the new virus mutant was comparatively easy to track and trace at airports, but much more difficult to control at land frontiers where security is often more lax. Later this month, Thailand intends to open some of its border crossing points with both Laos and Cambodia, mainly for the transport of goods and the transit of market stall holders and sugar cane cutters. At press time, there had been no formal announcement about foreign tourists and visa runners taking advantage of the raising of the barriers. Thailand closed all its land border posts in March 2020.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... val-381087

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Post by Gaybutton »

What do YOU think will happen? I know what I think. I hope the unthinkable doesn't become the thinkable yet again, but based on past history let's put it this way - I'm not optimistic.

I am guessing - emphasis on guessing - that you can forget about the bars reopening by mid-January, at least in Pattaya, and I won't be surprised if the restaurant alcohol ban will still be in place.

I truly hope I am wrong, but it sure seems to me that the powers-that-be, for whatever reasons - valid or not - keep letting other places open up, but not Pattaya.

If they really do go as far as another lockdown if the Omicron variant reaches Thailand, what happens when even more new strains occur?
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PM eyes Omicron options

Lockdown may loom if variant detected

1 December, 2021

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will make a decision about whether Thailand will be forced back into another lockdown if the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is detected in the country.

However, the new strain has not been found in Thailand yet, according to health authorities.

Speaking after Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the cabinet instructed relevant agencies to monitor the situation closely while the Public Health Ministry will assess the country's reopening in two weeks' time.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha urged the public not to panic, saying the prime minister has ordered security agencies to intensify border surveillance to prevent illegal border crossings to help keep the virus at bay.

Mr Sathit stressed that officials who are found to be negligent of their duty will face severe punishment.

He told the Bangkok Post that the cabinet did not discuss a lockdown, but considered tougher measures to detect the virus.

The government was concerned about illegal migrants sneaking into the country via natural border crossings, Mr Sathit added.

"The situation will be monitored closely. Measures will be reviewed based on new information coming in. If the Omicron strain is found in Thailand, the country will have to face another lockdown," Mr Sathit said. "It is the prime minister's policy and he will make a quick decision as director of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration [CCSA]."

Mr Sathit also said that nightlife venues may be allowed to reopen on Jan 16 if the Omicron strain is not detected, though he stressed the need to continue following DMHTT guidelines, referring to social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing, temperature-checking and using the Thai Chana app.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index plunged by 21 points, or 1.32%, to close at 1,568.69 points on Tuesday amid concern of another possible lockdown following the emergence of the Omicron strain.

This prompted government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana to allay fears of another lockdown, saying the issue was not raised at the cabinet meeting.

"But if the new strain is found in Thailand, the prime minister will be informed straight away," Mr Thanakorn said, adding that the premier ordered all involved to keep a close watch on the situation.

He said the Public Health Ministry is monitoring all mutated strains of the virus and conducting proactive testing of 4,000-5,000 people every week. Strict measures remain in place to screen tourists entering by air, land and water, the spokesman said.

The prime minister also stressed the need for everyone to receive vaccine shots which helps prevent the worst effects of the virus, Mr Thanakorn said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that scientists worldwide are racing to develop vaccines to cope with the new strain and Thailand is following their progress.

Thai researchers are also developing local vaccines against the new variant, the minister said, adding that the ministry is working to ensure sufficient supplies of vaccines, medical equipment and personnel to prepare for any future emergencies.

Mr Anutin made the remarks as he was attending the special session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland which started on Monday and will end today.

The cabinet on Tuesday decided to suspend the CCSA's plan to allow international travellers to take an antigen test (ATK) instead of an RT-PCR test to enter the country over concerns surrounding the spread of the Omicron variant.

The relaxed requirements, which were supposed to take effect on Dec 16, would have applied to travellers from 63 countries and territories permitted to enter under the test-and-go scheme.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... on-options

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Re: The Latest - restrictions, visas, entry requirements, etc.

Post by Jun »

A lockdown for Omicron would only make sense if it's far worse than previous variants. There is no suggestion of that at present.

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Jun wrote:
Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:17 pm
A lockdown for Omicron would only make sense if it's far worse than previous variants.
Since when does making sense factor into it in Thailand?

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Alcohol in restaurants now ok for Ayutthaya, but prohibition still reigns for Pattaya.

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Muang Ayutthaya district now listed as a “Blue Zone”, CCSA allows selling and drinking of alcohol in restaurants until 9:00 PM

By Nop Meechukhun

1 December 2021

A district of Muang Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was granted permission by the Center for Coronavirus Situation Administration (CCSA) for selling and drinking alcohol in restaurants until 9:00 PM., starting this December.

Governor Weerachai Nakmas told the Associated Press today that the CCSA has approved of excluding Muang district from the strict controlled areas or red zone provinces and including the area in the blue zone tourist pilot areas, signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha.

This has resulted in the relaxation of preventive measures, including selling and drinking alcoholic beverages in restaurants. Tourists and local customers could enjoy the service until 9:00 PM.

“Drinking alcohol in the district is allowed until 9:00 PM. However, all qualified restaurants must continue to strictly follow the rules and other preventive measures in order to control the infection situation at a stable rate. Officials would also deploy from time to time to monitor the area whether the venues were well cooperating,” Weerachai stressed.

Meanwhile, Chonburi, home of Pattaya, released new rules today as well but did not allow the serving of alcohol in Pattaya, the blue district (along with Sattahip) of the province despite weeks of pleas and protests from business owners, politicians, and tourism associations. No specific reason for keeping the ban was given.

https://tpnnational.com/2021/12/01/muan ... il-900-pm/
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Pattaya again pleads to allow alcohol sales

By Pattaya Mail

December 1, 2021

Pattaya appealed once again to Chonburi health officials to allow alcohol sales and even reopen some bars.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome appealed to the Communicable Disease Committee at Chonburi’s provincial hall Nov. 29, arguing that continuing to ban alcohol undermines the city and province’s efforts to reopen Banglamung and Sattahip districts as tourism zones. December will see events three of four weekends and allowing booze and entertainment is essential, he said.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration at its last meeting designated the two districts as “blue” tourism zones, but the decision on whether to allow alcohol sales lies with Chonburi. Phetchaburi’s disease-control committee on Tuesday approved alcohol sales in restaurants in Cha-am, but Chonburi’s committee so far has done nothing to help the struggling food and beverage industry.

Sonthaya said the recent Pattaya Fireworks Festival drew 10,000 people a night and that hotels were nearly fully booked. He insisted the city has done its utmost to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak among attendees, although there was little evidence of that on Pattaya Beach were people were packed in shoulder-to-shoulder.

Likewise, poor crowd control at the Pattaya Music Festival has led to reported cases among those outside the regulated stage-area fences.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... les-381073

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