Govt set to back easing of curbs

Govt set to back easing of curbs

Sit-in dining returns to 'dark-red zones'

The government is set to relax Covid-19 restrictions, including allowing dine-in services to open until 9pm in maximum and strict control "dark-red zone" provinces.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as director of the CCSA, has ordered agencies to find ways to ease the plight of operators of eateries and restaurants and food vendors affected by the restrictions.

The relaxation of restrictions is in line with recommendations made by the Public Health Ministry's Emergency Operation Centre, he said.

In maximum and strict control areas, shown as dark red on public information material, sit-in services can resume until 9pm while takeaway sales will continue to cease operation at 11pm and the ban on alcohol sales will also be retained.

However, dine-in restaurants will only be allowed to operate at 25% of their capacity, so what was previously a table for four will only seat one diner under this round of easing, Dr Taweesilp said.

Schools will remain closed, except for examinations and lot-drawing procedures requested by the Education Ministry to organise some primary and secondary school admissions.

In the light-red zones governed by a second, less severe set of restrictions, dine-in services will be permitted until 11pm. Alcohol sales will also remain prohibited.

Learning activities involving large crowds at schools, universities, and tutorial schools may be permitted but will require permission from provincial communicable disease committees.

In third-tier orange zones, dine-in services can resume normal operating hours with a continued alcohol sales ban and learning activities involving groups can recommence without restriction.

Prior to the green light being given, each province will also have its current colour-coded classification reassessed to ensure public safety, said Dr Taweesilp.

Currently, an average infection rate above 50 cases per day mandates that provincial administrations must impose the toughest curbs. Re-zoning proposals will be announced sometime today, Dr Taweesilp said.

The CCSA yesterday reported 30 new domestic deaths, with the toll now at 548. There were also 2,256 new cases, raising the total to 96,050.

The day's latest batch of cases included 2,068 local infections in 61 provinces, 1,523 of which were confirmed at hospitals and 545 via mass testing, 183 infected prison inmates, and another five Thai returnees from foreign countries.

Bangkok logged the most with 1,087, followed by 157 in Pathum Thani, 131 in Nonthaburi, 121 in Samut Prakan, 64 in Chon Buri, 52 in Prachuap Khiri Khan, 46 in Samut Sakhon, 33 in Rayong, 29 in Ayutthaya and 25 in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

"The number of new cases in Greater Bangkok was three times as many as those in other provinces," Dr Tawee­silp said.


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