Tourist spots face quotas

Tourist spots face quotas

Crowds feared as reopenings ramp up

The Department of Health (DOH) will push for measures to curb the number of visitors to tourist spots to prevent a new surge in Covid-19 transmission as the government considers allowing the resumption of more businesses and activities ahead of schedule.

Visitors stroll along Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri province which opened on Monday after closing for two months to prevent Covid-19 transmission. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

DOH director-general Panpimol Wipulakorn said that even though some restrictions on domestic travel have been relaxed, travellers should adopt "new normal" practices and maintain social distancing and safety precautions such as wearing masks and regular handwashing wherever they go.

For the next phase of lockdown easing, it may be necessary to issue measures to curb the number of visitors to tourist spots, similar to limiting the number of people going to shopping malls, Dr Panpimol said.

She added that local organisations should also come up with measures to control the number of visitors to beaches in their respective provinces to prevent overcrowding. Tourists and workers in the service industry should also be required to wear masks while on the beaches, Dr Panpimol said.

Enough hand sanitisers should also be provided for beach-goers while toilets and bathrooms on beachfronts should be cleaned every two hours, she said, adding that visitors must check in and out at beaches so they can be traced, among other measures.

Dr Panpimol said the department has been monitoring every phase of relaxation and found that while people continue to wash their hands regularly, they are tending to wear face masks in public places less.

She also said movie-goers are not prohibited from eating popcorn and soft drinks in cinemas, but they have been urged to take precautions and wear masks all the time.

Meanwhile, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Friday that some businesses and activities will be allowed to reopen ahead of schedule in the final phase of the relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown if they can give assurances that they have plans to prevent virus transmission.

Dr Taweesilp said that the CCSA has regularly discussed the fourth and final phase of relaxation for businesses and activities that are in the red or high-risk category such as pubs and bars.

The spokesman quoted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is the CCSA's director, as saying that any businesses and activities that come up with plans to prevent transmissions may be permitted to reopen ahead of the next stage of relaxation which will effectively lead to a complete reopening of the country.

However, such plans have to be approved by the CCSA's business resumption committee first, Dr Taweesilp said.

The committee is headed by National Security Council secretary-general Somsak Roongsita.

The government plans to completely lift the lockdown on all businesses and activities on July 1 across the country. This includes lifting inter-provincial travel restrictions as well as ending the emergency decree and curfew.

The emergency decree, which was invoked on March 26 to deal with Covid-19, will end in June, and the ban on international travel would end at the same time it is lifted.

The CCSA on Friday reported one new case of Covid-19 infection, an asymptomatic returnee from Kuwait who tested positive just before leaving quarantine. There were no new deaths.

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