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Mask mandate eased in Phuket and elsewhere from today

It’s official – the wearing of a mask is a voluntary practice from now on, so that people on Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand can live closer to normal conditions. With the latest ruling now published in the Royal Gazette, the wearing of a mask is no longer required outdoors, unless you’re in a crowded space, such as a busy market or concert.

“The Ministry of Public Health only recommends that the general public wear a mask when living with other people in a crowded place, or areas where there is a large gathering of people where they can’t maintain social distancing, or in a poorly ventilated place, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.”

To decode the latest announcements, you can walk around the streets and public spaces, but still need to wear one on public transport for example. Whilst the official announcement raises plenty more questions, the real-life result will be that there will be fewer people walking around the streets of Thailand with face masks.

Locals speculate that, just like in Singapore, there will still be a core of Thai residents and expats who will just keep wearing masks in public places for the foreseeable future.

Private businesses and organisations will also be able to apply their own mask-wearing rules, including shops, taxis, and airlines.

It’s also likely that all Thai government offices and schools will continue with a mask-wearing policy at this time. So, we’ll need to keep a mask tucked in our pocket as we navigate our daily lives for a while yet. If an office or private company requires you to wear a face mask whilst using their service, or in their space, there’s nothing you can do about that other than put on a face mask or turn and walk out.

The announcement is effective from today, ready for the July 1 removal of the Thailand Pass and compulsory US$10,000 insurance for incoming travellers.

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