THE full meeting of the the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning (May 29) decided to launch the phase 3 lockdown relaxation on Monday June 1 with curfew to be reduced by an hour from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. with 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. currently in place, INN News reported.
An hour has been cut before dawn rather than moving it to midnight as previously anticipated in order to facilitate the transport of goods and raw materials across the provinces.
Culture Minister Itthipol Kunplome said as Prime Minister Prayut gives importance to linking the easing of the lockdown to the economic condition, shopping malls will now be allowed to remain open an hour longer to 9 p.m. from the current 8 p.m. closing time.
The meeting also agreed to allow the reopening of fitness centres and special massage spas but the latter would only be allowed to treat the body not the face, and also not permitted to offer both ordinary and herbal steam services.
Movie halls and theaters would also be reopened on June 1 but restricted to accommodating not more than 200 persons at one time. Sports training allowed but not more than 10 persons at one time.
The meeting also agreed to uphold its previous decision to reopen all schools nationwide on July 1.
Risky activities and businesses such as pubs, bars and boxing stadiums are all part of phase 4 loosing of the lockdown measures and a decision on this step would be made on June 15 when the phase 3 relaxation will be taken into consideration.
The public was urged to continue maintaining social distance and strictly practice the New Normal way of life.
The National Security Council also earlier said that it is likely curfew will be reduced by an hour but it would be from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and not midnight to 4 a.m. as anticipated earlier.
Gen Somsak Rungsita, secretary general of the National Security Council, said in his capacity as chairman of a special committee on relaxing lockdown measures that he understood the difficulties the people are facing but also felt that because phase 3 and 4 relaxation are at code yellow and red risk level, businesses and activities should only be released gradually.
Whether the emergency decree would be ended after June has still to be discussed, he said, adding it has to be assessed whether this special law would still be needed after that but it is possible to return to normal law with everything being conceivable.
Top: Downtown Bangkok during the curfew. Photo: Maythee Anegboonlap (CC BY-SA 2.0)