City Hall warns parkgoers

City Hall warns parkgoers

People wear face masks while out for a morning jog in Lumpini Park. City Hall has warned it might close parks again, after re-opening them on May 3, as many people are ignoring social distancing rules. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
People wear face masks while out for a morning jog in Lumpini Park. City Hall has warned it might close parks again, after re-opening them on May 3, as many people are ignoring social distancing rules. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Despite joggers wearing face masks in Lumpini Park, as well as other city parks, City Hall says it has found that 80% of parkgoers are defying measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and this may lead to park closures again.

Officials allowed city residents to return to parks on May 3 when the government eased nationwide lockdown measures by allowing some activities, including outdoor non-contacts sports, to resume.

However, people are required to strictly follow safety guidelines like wearing masks and keeping physical distance.

In Lumpini Park, most people generally comply with the new regulations but "some still do not cooperate", city law enforcement officer Phichai Sisong said yesterday as he was patrolling on his two-wheeled transporter along a 2.5-kilometre running track in the park.

"I just approached them and gave a polite warning."

Some other parks officials had reported, after conducting inspections, that parkgoers who violated health instructions had even ignored their warnings, city clerk Silapasuai Rawisaengsun said on Wednesday after chairing a meeting on park usage violations.

Almost 80% of parkgoers are challenging the rules by not wearing face masks, doing group exercises, and using exercise equipment, all of which are still prohibited.

They simply enter areas that are sealed off to use the equipment, Ms Silapasuai said.

But such scenes hardly occur in Lumpini Park, regular visitors to the park said.

"Everyone here is afraid of the virus," Pricha Udomkitpricha told the Bangkok Post as he pointed to joggers and walkers who had face masks on.

It is true that some people take their masks off, the 71-year-old admitted, but they only do so when they are tired after running or exercising.

Moreover, most of them also separated themselves from a crowd before doing so.

This was the same reason given by Bunchai Atthawanthana, 58, who was not wearing a mask as he was approached for an interview.

However, Ms Silapasuai insisted that if people ignore the warning, they will be asked to leave parks.

If they continue to behave in an "unhealthy" way, officials may need to close the parks, she added.

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