Placing emphasis on strengthening the public health system, while ensuring stringent health and safety standards; such as, SHA Plus and Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus.
Would like to provide an update on the latest announcement by the Royal Thai Government that redesignated 69 provinces as Controlled Areas or orange zone, while maintaining 8 remaining provinces plus districts in 18 provinces as ‘Blue Zone’ pilot tourist destinations, effective from 9 January, 2022.
Published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on 8 January, 2022, the announcement also officiated the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) decision to reopen 3 more Sandbox destinations – Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Surat Thani (only Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao) from 11 January, 2022 – in addition to Phuket.
The announcement also confirmed that travellers who have applied/obtained their Thailand Pass QR code before 22 December, 2021, with scheduled arrival dates in Thailand from 24 December, 2021, onwards, can still enter Thailand until there are any changes. Currently, there is no cut-off date.
Stepped up COVID-19 curbs in ‘Blue Zone’ destinations
The announcement maintained directives announced in the Royal Gazette on 30 October, 2021, which allowed nearly all businesses and activities in the Blue Zone provinces/districts to resume “New Normal” operations in a COVID-free setting from 1 November, 2021.
These include all shopping venues, convenience stores, markets, cinemas and theatres, sports venues, hair salons and barbershops, massage and spa shops, beauty and aesthetic clinics, and tattoo shops. Meetings, events, and fairs can be also held normally with no limitation on the number of attendees.
Restaurants and eateries in the Blue Zone destinations, including Bangkok, can also resume normal opening hours. However, from 9 January, 2021, only restaurants and eateries that have received the SHA Plus certification (Ministry of Tourism and Sports) or the Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus standard (Ministry of Public Health) will be allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages up until 21.00 Hrs.
However, all types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops nationwide are to remain closed until further notice.
8 “Blue Zone” Provinces + 18 Provinces with ‘Blue Zone” Districts
Central Region: Bangkok, and Ayutthaya (Mueang district only), Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phetchaburi (Cha-am district only), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Mueang, Hua Hin, and Nong Kae districts only), and Samut Prakan (Suvarnabhumi Airport only)
Eastern Region: Chanthaburi (only for Mueang and Tha Mai districts), Chon Buri, Rayong (Ko Samet only), and Trat (Ko Chang and Ko Kut districts only).
Northeastern Region: Buri Ram (Mueang district only), Khon Kaen (Mueang, Khao Suan Kwang, Poei Noi, Phon, Phu Wiang, Wiang Kao, and Ubolratana districts only), Loei (Chiang Khan district only), Nakhon Ratchasima (Mueang, Chaloem Phra Kiat, Chok Chai, Pak Chong, Phimai, Sikhio, and Wang Nam Khiao districts), Nong Khai (Mueang, Sangkhom, Si Chiang Mai and Tha Bo districts only), Surin (Mueang and Tha Tum districts only), and Udon Thani (Mueang, Ban Dung, Kumphawapi, Na Yung, Prachaksilpakhom, and Nong Han districts only).
Northern Region: Chiang Mai (Mueang, Chom Thong, Doi Tao, Mae Rim, and Mae Taeng districts only), and Chiang Rai (Mueang, Chiang Khong, Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Mae Fah Luang, Mae Sai, Phan, Thoeng, Wiang Kaen, and Wiang Pa Pao districts only).
Southern Region: Krabi, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Ranong (Ko Phayam only), and Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao only).
Stepped up COVID-19 curbs in Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces
The announcement also maintained directives announced in the Royal Gazette on 30 October, 2021, which allowed malls, markets, convenience stores, and cinemas to resume “New Normal” operations in a COVID-free setting from 1 November, 2021.
Restaurants and eateries in the orange zone provinces can resume normal opening hours, but will not be allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages. This measure applies to all restaurants and eateries, both standalone and those situated in shopping malls, department stores, community malls, and similar venues.
Amusement parks and water parks within shopping malls, department stores, community malls, and similar venues must remain closed.
Meetings and events in hotels, trade centres, convention halls, and similar venues can be organised for less than 1,000 attendees, and under stringent disease prevention and control guidelines.
Meanwhile, provinces in the orange zone can arrange more engaging activities; such as, sports tournaments, food fairs, and the like for no more than 1,000 attendees.
Beauty and aesthetic clinics, hair salons and barbershops, tattoo shops, massage and spa shops, and Thai traditional massage shops can open until 24.00 Hrs.
Public parks, sports fields, outdoor swimming pools, outdoor and indoor gyms and fitness centres can open normally. Sports tournaments can be held, but the number of attendees must be capped at 50% of the capacity for indoor venues and 75% for outdoor venues.
69 Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces (alphabetical order region-by-region)
Central Region: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya*, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Phetchaburi*, Prachuap Khiri Khan*, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan*, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri.
Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi*, Prachin Buri, Rayong*, Trat*, and Sa Kaeo.
Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram*, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen*, Loei*, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima*, Nong Khai*, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Roi Et, Sakhon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin*, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani*, and Yasothon.
Northern Region: Chiang Mai*, Chiang Rai*, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit.
Southern Region: Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phatthalung, Ranong*, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani*, Trang, and Yala.
*Except for areas designated as “Blue Zone” pilot tourist destinations.