1st November represents a large step forward for Thailand’s journey out of the pandemic. Travellers from 63 countries are now permitted entry to Thailand without quarantine, if they are fully vaccinated.
According to a new announcement signed by the permanent secretary for foreign affairs, Thani Thongphakdi, additional areas from which individuals are permitted to enter Thailand under the Royal Thai Government’s plan to reopen the country are India, Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Croatia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Luxembourg.
The Thai government earlier announced that fully vaccinated visitors from 46 low-risk areas can enter the kingdom by air without quarantine, provided they have been fully vaccinated and have evidence of a pre-flight negative COVID-19 test result. They must also agree to take another test upon arrival.
The areas included in the earlier announcement were Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Fully vaccinated visitors from other countries and territories may enter Thailand via the ‘Sandbox’ schemes which currently include 17 provinces. They will be required to stay in those provinces for 7 days, after which they will be allowed to travel to other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, tourists who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days.
Hotel bookings are on the rise according to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn. These bookings are mostly from the aforementioned 63 countries and give rise to confidence that Thailand has began the journey back to being a large figure in the tourism global standings.
“I’m confident the reopening will greatly benefit the country, especially in the tourism high season that normally lasts into early next year. TAT is now expecting over 1 million tourists to come in the next six months, or about 300,000 per month,” he said.
Further changes occurring today include alcohol bans and curfews being lifted in the newly named Blue Zones. This means that the night-time curfew currently in place in Bangkok was lifted from 23.00 Hrs. on 31 October, 2021.
Also, from 1 November, 2021, nearly all businesses and activities in the 4 Blue Zone provinces will be able to resume “New Normal” operations.
These include all shopping venues, convenience stores, markets, cinemas and theatres, sports venues, hair salons and barbershops, massage and spa shops, beauty and aesthetic clinics, and tattoo shops.
Restaurants and eateries can also resume normal opening hours, and be allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages. Meetings, events, and fairs can be also held normally with no limitation on the number of attendees.
However, all types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops nationwide are to remain closed. But the announcement stated that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.
Similar relaxed measures for the Blue Zone provinces have also been extended to the 5 yellow zone provinces, also newly added from 1 November, 2021, with the exception for events and activities that must be organised with the number of attendees capped at below 1,000.
Provinces in the red and orange zones have also seen the COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed further, with malls, markets, convenience stores, and cinemas being allowed to resume normal hours.
Restaurants and eateries in the orange zone can resume normal hours while in the red and dark-red zones must closed at 23.00 Hrs. and 22.00 Hrs., respectively. Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages remain prohibited in the orange, red and dark-red zones.
Businesses and activities in the 7-remaining dark-red zone provinces can resume normal hours but no later than 22.00 Hrs., as the night-time curfew (from 23.00 – 03.00 Hrs.) remains in place for another 15 days or until 15 November.
Meetings and events in the red and dark-red zones can be organised for less than 500 attendees. Meanwhile, provinces in the orange zone can arrange more engaging activities; such as, sports tournaments, food fairs, and the likes for no more than 1,000 attendees.
Measures for the designated blue zone areas in 13 other provinces will be according to the provincial colour-zoning.