The government will today consider whether to allow nightlife outlets to operate beyond midnight while all provinces nationwide are expected to be reclassified as green zones where nearly all Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and activities will be lifted.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said yesterday that the ministry will ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to redesignate all 77 provinces as surveillance areas or green zones.
In such zones, night entertainment outlets can reopen and there are no restrictions on gatherings or the use of school buildings and sports facilities.
Regarding a proposal to extend the opening hours of entertainment places beyond midnight, he said the CCSA would consider the matter.
Mr Anutin also said that National Security Council secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom, who serves as chief of the CCSA's operations, asked him whether he would have any objection to the proposed extension of the opening hours.
Mr Anutin said he discussed the matter with the permanent secretary for public health, Kiattiphum Wongrajit, and Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the ministry's Department of Disease Control (DDC).
"They agreed there should be no problem if the hours are extended beyond midnight by one or two hours as allowed by the law. All they have to do is to follow the law and not open until dawn.
"The Public Health Ministry will tell the CCSA meeting that it will not oppose the proposal. But the CCSA will have the final say," Mr Anutin said.
From June 1, pubs, bars, karaoke bars, massage parlours and other nightspots in 14 reclassified green zones and 17 blue zones were allowed to resume business but they are still required to close at midnight.
Also from June 1, disease control measures were enforced at entertainment places, where, for example, staff, singers and musicians must be fully vaccinated and undergo weekly antigen tests. People must not share glasses and alcohol promotions are forbidden.
As for face masks, Mr Anutin said the ministry would not end its mask-wearing mandate yet. Officials will consider lifting the requirement in specific areas, he said.
The pandemic continued to subside yesterday, with 2,153 new cases and 17 more fatalities reported during the previous 24 hours, the CCSA said. The 17 people who died were aged 38 to 90.