Light at the end of the tunnel: Neon lights illuminate Khao San Road after dusk as more pub-cum-restaurants and street food stalls ply their trade, luring crowds to the street. A boost in tourism is expected from June 1 with government allowing nightspots in Bangkok and another 30 provinces to resume business after being closed for over two years. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasil)

Light at the end of the tunnel: Neon lights illuminate Khao San Road after dusk as more pub-cum-restaurants and street food stalls ply their trade, luring crowds to the street. A boost in tourism is expected from June 1 with government allowing nightspots in Bangkok and another 30 provinces to resume business after being closed for over two years. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasil)

Pubs, bars, karaoke bars, massage parlours and all other similar night entertainment establishments will be allowed to reopen in 31 provinces from June 1 but they will still be required to close at midnight, the government said on Friday.

Along with the relaxation of other Covid-19 restrictions, this much-anticipated reopening of night entertainment venues was approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said after chairing a meeting of the CCSA.

The 31 provinces include 14 reclassified as green zones in the CCSA’s colour-coded Covid-19 situation zoning and 17 recognised as blue zones in the same system used ahead of the country’s full reopening to tourists, said CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

The 17 blue-zone provinces are Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phangnga, Phetchaburi, Phuket, Rayong and Songkhla.

The 46 other provinces remain classified as yellow zones where Covid-19 surveillance will be maintained at a high level, said Dr Taweesilp.

Before reopening on June 1, all night entertainment venues will have to win approval from the provincial communicable disease committee, he said, adding that only formally registered businesses will be approved.

And when allowed to reopen, these businesses will still be required to strictly follow the Covid-Free Setting measures set by the Ministry of Public Health, he said.

Covid-19 screening will be required daily for all staff, with antigen testing to be conducted once a week, he said.

“The wearing of face masks is required for services involving close contact between staff and customers, such as those offered in a massage parlour,” Dr Taweesilp said.

As healthy customers visiting these night entertainment venues are required to show their Covid-19 vaccination certificates, people aged 60 and older, as well as those with underlying medical conditions, are advised to refrain from visiting them right now, he added.

The 14 provinces reclassified as green zones following their improvement in controlling potential outbreaks are Chai Nat, Phichit, Ang Thong, Nan, Maha Sarakham, Yasothon, Nakhon Phanom, Lampang, Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Trat, Surat Thani, Surin and Udon Thani.

Those identified as close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases and seen as having a high risk of contracting the coronavirus no longer have to go into five-day isolation and spend another five days closely observing their health, Dr Taweesilp said.

The new rule is for them to closely observe their health while going about their daily activities including going to work, he said, adding the only prerequisite is that they undergo an antigen test if they develop symptoms.

(Source: – Bangkok Post)