Restaurants certified for upholding Covid-19 safety standards nationwide will from May 1 be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to customers until midnight, up from the current 11pm deadline, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced yesterday.
Night entertainment venues including nightclubs, bars and karaoke parlours will, however, remain shut, said CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin, citing a new resolution reached by the CCSA's main committee earlier yesterday.
These outlets can be converted into restaurants and begin serving alcohol when approved by local communicable disease committees, he said.
Restaurants permitted to extend their alcohol-serving time are those that have met Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus, Covid 2 Plus, or Covid Free Setting standards, he said.
The additional easing of restrictions on businesses was accompanied by the CCSA's decision to reclassify at-risk provinces' outbreak situations, he said.
There are now 65 yellow provinces and 12 light blue provinces, he said.
Yellow signifies the need to maintain maximum surveillance of Covid-19 transmissions, while blue is initially assigned to areas permitted to pilot semi-full business and tourism reopening.
Two more provinces permitted to upgrade from yellow to blue zones are Rayong and Songkhla, Dr Taweesilp said.
Other provinces already designated as blue zones are Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phangnga, Phetchaburi and Phuket, he said.
In the yellow zones, the work-from-home measure is recommended for both public organisations and private companies where appropriate, while gatherings of more than 1,000 people are prohibited, he said.
Citing the latest assessment of the Covid-19 situation in all provinces, he said 21 provinces are still struggling to cope with high numbers of new infections, while the number of new cases in another 44 provinces appears to have levelled off.
The number of new Covid-19 cases in the other 12 provinces is falling, he noted.
Thailand can declare Covid-19 an endemic disease only when the weekly death rate falls below 0.1% of the number of total new cases for two consecutive weeks, he said.
The CCSA also approved a proposal to shorten the mandatory Covid-19 quarantine period for an at-risk contact of an infected case to five days from the previous seven days, he said.