(Un)masking 101

(Un)masking 101


The mask mandate has been lifted in anticipation of downgrading Covid-19 to an endemic, which comes into effect today. The biggest question you may have right now as we're going through this transitional period, heading back to the old normal, is probably when and where you can unmask. However, if you think you can free your face from any coverings and leave your mask at home, you should read the following first. Here's what you need to know before you mask (or unmask).

- The Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, recommends that you don't have to wear a mask when you're alone (duh), exercise (thanks Buddha), eat or drink, in an open-air place, outdoors or indoors but can keep a physical distance from another person (I guess I don't have to wear a mask in the office now).

- On the other hand, those who are asked to keep their masks on are the 608 group, the infected or those who were in contact with the infected and staff who provide services to others in close contact. What's 608, you ask? It refers to groups of people who are considered more susceptible to Covid-19 than usual such as elders, people with pre-existing medical conditions and those who haven't been vaccinated.

- The department also recommended that even if you're vaccinated, you should wear a mask when you're in a crowded place or aboard a train, an airplane or any mode of public transport.

- At a public park or a beach, the health authority said you don't have to mask-up but should keep a physical distance from others.

- While exercising, you can take off your mask, provided that you can keep a physical distance from another person or you work out in a well-ventilated venue.

- At a concert, the department still urged attendees to wear masks whether the concert is being held indoors or outdoors as any concert will be a big gathering of people who are in close contact with each other. Performers don't have to wear masks while performing but staff should wear masks while on duty. I recently attended Nigel Ng's stand-up show and they arranged seatings in pairs (so you'll be sitting with your plus one) to provide physical distance from other attendees. Although I wish this arrangement would become a norm since I'm getting too old for standing tickets, I think it's very unlikely as the organisers try to make profits (and there's nothing wrong with it) after all. I also had to register and provide my proof of vaccination before the show date, as well. Given how many big-name concerts are coming to Bangkok, it'll be interesting to see how long these measures will continue, provided that the situation continuously improves towards the end of 2022.

- According to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's announcement on June 24, the temporary closure of selected venues has been lifted and people can wear masks voluntarily. Resumption of businesses includes the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks at restaurants, as well as the reopening of entertainment venues (pubs, bars and the likes), beauty salons and tattoo parlours. For a gathering of more than 2,000 people, the organiser must still inform the district office.

- Last Saturday, Bangkok Governor  Chadchart Sittipunt demonstrated that people can take off their masks in open spaces during his morning run at Lumphini Park sans a mask.

- Despite mask mandate cancellation, BTS asks its passengers to wear masks at all times while commuting. It makes sense since passengers can breathe on each other (or have their face in someone's armpit) during rush hours. Better safe than sorry.

- Personally, I feel like we're going through an awkward transitional phase with these soft rules. Just don't shame people on social media when they want to keep their masks on at all times or when they forget to put on one when they should have. Be kind. 

Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Guru section Editor

Guru section Editor

Email : pornchais@bangkokpost.co.th

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