PHUKET: Local authorities have vowed to take decisive legal action against tourists who fail to wear face masks in public, saying failure to comply with the disease control requirement is rampant in the island province.
Pol Col Thanet Sukchai, the immigration chief in Phuket, said on Wednesday tourists were failing to wear face masks in public places, and local authorities had resolved to more stringently enforce the requirement from the local communicable disease committee.
Phuket governor Narong Woonciew had already asked the Phuket consuls of 22 countries to communicate the face mask mandate to their citizens, Pol Col Thanet said.
"Violators will be arrested and prosecuted... The Phuket health office has been assigned to file relevant complaints. Examples must be set," he said.
The Phuket governor would soon form an operational team to enforce the rule, he said. Local police would take the lead and inspect people at key locations, including Soi Bangla and Patong areas.
On Jan 7, the governor issued an order for people to wear face masks when they go out unless they are eating, drinking or exercising.
Violation of the order carries a penalty of up to 20,000 baht under the Communicable Diseases Act, plus a fine of up to 40,000 baht and/or a jail term of up to two years under the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations imposed to control Covid-19.
The local immigration chief did not elaborate on the extent to which actual punishments will be imposed on those who fail to wear face masks in public.