Mask requirement being dropped outdoors, low-risk areas

Mask requirement being dropped outdoors, low-risk areas

People wear face masks as they stroll through popular Chatuchak Weekend Market. (Apichart Jinakul)
People wear face masks as they stroll through popular Chatuchak Weekend Market. (Apichart Jinakul)

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday agreed to ease the requirement for wearing a face mask, making it purely voluntary outdoors or in uncrowded places.

The CCSA meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, agreed that this and other easing of Covid-19 controls would take effect when published in the Royal Gazette. A spokesman earlier said the target date for the changes was July 1.

The planned relaxation of Covid-19 controls are:

- Redesignating all 77 provinces nationwide as  green Covid surveilance zones. Currently there are 14 green, 46 yellow high sureillance provinces and 17 blue or tourism "sandbox'' provinces;

- Extending the closing hours of nightspots, pubs, bars, karaoke shopsbars and similar venues from midnight to 2am; and, 

- Allowing people to go unmasked on a voluntary basis when they are in low-risk areas, uncrowded areas  or outdoors, across the country.

Face mask wearing will still be required in crowded and poorly ventilated areas such as public transport,  and markets and concert venues. 

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA, said the prime minister thanked people for their full cooperation in wearing masks. However, further cooperation was still needed. Gen Prayut said most people still wore face masks, as they recognised their usefulness, said Dr Taweesilp.

The Department of Health director-general would provide guidance regarding the eased Covid-19 controls and the date for the new measures to take effect, the CCSA spokesman said.

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