Masks no longer compulsory

Masks no longer compulsory

Thai smiles return to city streets with law change

The use of face masks is now voluntary, but is recommended to prevent infection by respiratory diseases including Covid-19. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The use of face masks is now voluntary, but is recommended to prevent infection by respiratory diseases including Covid-19. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The government has lifted its face mask mandate and advised vulnerable groups and those who suspect they may be infected to still use them for the sake of personal and public health.

The decision was made due to the improving Covid-19 situation and intended to help people resume a normal life, according to the government announcement published in the Royal Gazette on Friday.

The use of face masks is now voluntary, but is recommended to prevent infection by respiratory diseases including Covid-19, it said.

The Public Health Ministry advised people to continue to wear masks in crowded or poorly ventilated places.

Vulnerable people, mainly the elderly and those with underlying illnesses, should wear face masks while staying with others to reduce the risk of infection because catching Covid-19 could jeopardise their life.

Covid patients or those in close contact with them should wear face masks to reduce transmission risk, the announcement said.

Following the publication of the new rules, the Bangkok Post interviewed members of the public for their opinions on the return to maskless life.

Pichitpong Sathaporn, a 47-year-old taxi driver, said he will continue to wear one as usual.

"Since I work in the service sector and have to serve customers from many countries, I have decided to keep wearing mine [mask] despite it no longer being mandatory," he said.

Manutchai Chantawong, a 32-year-old freelance architect who has been forced to get used to going for his regular jogs in the park with a face mask on, said that he will now lift the mask during his exercise.

"I feel uncomfortable and have to take it off because I can't breathe well," he said. "However, I will still wear it in crowded public spaces, such as the BTS or on other public transport, because I understand that people are still worrying and panicking about the disease".

The government has now declared the whole nation a green (Covid-19 surveillance) zone, allowing the full-scale resumption of business and other activities, and pre-arrival registration will end next month.

The Royal Gazette announcement also lifted Covid-related restrictions on business and activities immediately. Entertainment places can resume their pre-Covid closing hours of either midnight, 1am or 2am depending on relevant regulations.

From July 1 visitors will not have to do pre-travel arrival registration and quarantine rules will also end. No Covid-19 insurance will be required.

Adult arrivals must show proof of vaccination that occurred at least 14 days before their travel.

Those aged from five to 17 years are required to have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before travel. Vaccination certificates will not be required for those under 18 travelling with guardians.

Arrivals are advised to follow disease control measures and conduct antigen tests themselves where possible. Those testing positive will be responsible for their own treatment costs.

Unvaccinated arrivals or those not fully vaccinated must present negative results of RT-PCR or professional antigen tests conducted within 72 hours before travel.


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