A meeting this weekend, chaired by the director-general of the Department of Disease Control and secretary to the Covid-19 Center for Situation Administration, discussed suggestions and assessments of businesses ready to reopen, which will be forwarded to the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha for consideration early in the week.

Representatives of the Interior Ministry and Tourism Ministry along with those of multiple business clusters in the country, came together at the Public Health Emergency Centre in Bangkok yesterday to discuss the potential of “unlocking” and reopening more businesses around May 17. The plan is part of a structured overall effort to cautiously relaunch the Thai economy and get an estimated 10 million currently unemployed workers back to their livelihoods and businesses.  Any reopening would hinge upon the continued low daily infection numbers, (currently in the low single digits and mostly imported), of the Covid-19 Coronavirus nationwide.

The specific businesses to be recommended to the PM, with strict health and safety guidelines, are shopping malls, larger restaurants, amusement parks including water parks, health and beauty like salons (including allowing hair dyeing and other services at salons that are currently open) gyms, fitness centres, spas, massage shops, meeting and seminar venues and the film production industry. These items are only suggestions and there is no guarantee that the PM will agree to them. Any venues reopening will require strict physical distancing and hygiene measures. May 3 heralded the first phase of reopening, which included small restaurants, outside markets, barber shops, parks and several other mostly low risk venues. Reopening many larger venues, if and when it goes ahead, will immediately put tens of thousands of unemployed Thai workers back to work.

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