April 2020 the Thai government imposed a nationwide curfew, banned the sale of alcohol and Songkran was postponed until further notice.
April 3 Thai Government Imposes Nationwide Curfew
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on April 2 announced that an overnight curfew would be imposed starting the following day.
Saying it was necessary to combat spread of the coronavirus, Gen. Prayuth in an address to the nation said no one would be allowed to leave their residences from 10pm to 4am.
“We must not be reckless. We must join hands,” he said.
“We mustn’t allow infections to spread further. This depends on all of you.”
He announced no additional measures beyond the curfew at this time.
Limited exceptions included essential travel by officials involved in medical relief, finance, logistics or the facilitation of pharmacy or medical equipment.
Anyone who violates the curfew will face up to a THB40,000 fine and/or two-year imprisonment. Foreigners face up to a THB40,000 fine and/or two-year imprisonment and deportation.
His government granted him the power to execute such orders under the Emergency Decree that came into effect the previous week. Declaring a state of emergency gave full authority to the prime minister and provincial governors to take unilateral measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The curfew has since been relaxed on 17 May 2020 the curfew changed to 11pm -4am and then on 1 June to 11pm to 3am , the change was to facilitate fresh food market traders.
Social gatherings still remains strictly prohibited.
More than 18,000 individuals have been arrested for the violation of the State of Emergency (SOE) between April 3-23.
Of the 18,203 cases of SOE violation, 17,135 were Thais and 1,068 were foreigners. Courts have accepted 15,961 cases and they have ruled on more than 14,984 cases.
To date 308 curfew breakers are facing imprisonment and fines up to 40,000 baht/aprox. $1200
June 6 Menzzoo Magazine
THE ALCOHOL BAN
The sale of alcohol was banned in the entire country
All 77 provinces banned sales of alcoholic beverages and ordered the closure of shops or venues selling those beverages, as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19. Twenty-seven provinces ordered the ban until April 30
The ban came as Thailand cancelled celebration of the Songkran water festival, Thailand’s new year which usually starts on April 13. Authorities were worried that people would gather and drink to celebrate the event, leading to a spike in new virus cases which at this point was on a declining trend.
The ban period was to vary in different provinces while in Bangkok it was announced it would be from April 10-20. However this wasn't the case, nationwide the sale of alcohol did not resume until May 3 and came with one strict condition: customers must drink it at home.
Restaurants that sell alcohol were allowed to reopen but drinking inside the venues wouldl be strictly prohibited.
June 6 Menzzoo Magazine
On March 16 at a meeting of the Covid-19 Administration Centre, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a motion to postpone the Songkran holidays from April 13-15 to later dates was approved,
Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. An important event on the Buddhist calendar, the water festival marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’.
Water is an important element of Songkran, especially in more recent times when the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebrations. Crowds of people roam around throwing buckets of water, using water pistols and just generally soaking anyone in the vicinity.
Appreciation of family is another important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their hometowns to spend time with older relatives. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect.
SONGKRAN IN JULY 2020 ?
Officials are eyeing July 2020 stating for traditional New Year’s holidays after they were postponed due to the pandemic.
Culture Minister Ittipol Khunpluem said June 6 / 2020 that Songkran’s three holidays could begin as soon as July 7, and the proposal would go next to the COVID-19 task force.
Health officials the previous day said July could be the month, depending on whether the situation continues to improve or deteriorates in a second wave of infection.
The proposed dates – July 4-7 – would run Saturday through Tuesday. Ittipol said it was already a long weekend due to a Buddhist holiday, so they could be further extended another three days. Late July is another option being considered due to His Majesty the King’s birthday on July 28.
June 6 Menzzoo Magazine