Thailand reopens bars, clubs could be delayed beyond January 16
The much-anticipated reopening of bars and clubs on January 16 could be further delayed by the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.
“Closed places where crowds congregate and drink present high risks. This may need to be suspended, ”Prayut told media Thursday. “Please be patient and understand that the reopening of some provinces and businesses may have to be delayed due to the threat of the new variant. The government must do it for the good of everyone.
After initially saying the government would consider reopening bars, clubs and other nightlife venues on December 1 – a date many foolishly took as a firm commitment – the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said last month that the reopening could not take place before at least January. 16.
The Cabinet a few days later confirmed this date, but it could be pushed back again.
“We would like to wait and see for a month. In this matter, we have to listen to the doctors and the health authorities, ”Prayut said.
Despite a widespread ban on travelers from eight southern African countries where the omicron variant has emerged, the highly mutated virus continues to spread around the world, with new cases reported in San Francisco, New York, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Thai officials not only said it was only a matter of time before he was found in Thailand, but he might already be here. Health and immigration authorities are frantically trying to track down more than 1,000 Thais and foreigners who have arrived in Thailand from the region and other at-risk countries for omicron to test again.
While anecdotal evidence suggests that – despite mutations that could make it more transmissible and resistant to vaccines – omicron may be “super sweet” and contain less viral oomph than other variants, global health officials say that the true threat of the variant will not be known for about three weeks.
Regardless of the strength of the variant, Prayut said there was no plan for another national lockdown.
“Strong measures, such as a lockdown across the country, will not yet be used as the government will carefully consider the impacts on the economy and tourism while choosing appropriate measures that can ensure the safety of people,” he said. said Prayut. “From now on, we will focus on implementing the ‘Covid-free framework’ in as many areas as possible.”
‘Covid-Free Setting’ is yet another certification for restaurants and other businesses that requires all staff to be vaccinated for Covid-19, customers ideally show full proof of vaccination and antigen testing performed on those who do not. cannot or whose vaccinations are more than six months old.
This is the standard that should be imposed on bars, clubs and entertainment areas once they reopen.
But with authorities continuing to shut down the industry, authorities will finally offer compensation to operators and workers specifically in the entertainment sector.
The Center for Economic Situation Administration is meeting today for relief measures for the nightlife industry, along with other ideas for economic protection and tax restructuring.
The original version of this story appeared in the Bangkok Herald, a partner of Pattaya Mail.