Once one of the strictest countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand has been progressively easing its Covid mandates in recent weeks. After removing the Thailand Pass, an entry authorization visitors had to apply for before entering, the country has now lifted all mask requirements, both indoors and outdoors, being the freest it’s ever been in over two years.
With immediate effect, mask usage has ceased being compulsory within Thailand, allowing the aptly named ‘Land of Smiles‘ to smile once again. In a continent mired in restrictions, where the virus is still treated as an imminent threat and travel heavily curtailed, the nation is one of a select few to have relaxed some of the most stringent measures.
As a matter of fact, removal of mandatory masks is further proof Thailand is changing approach and slowly moving towards an imminent declaration of Covid as an endemic disease:
Tourists Can Explore Thailand Mask Free As Of June 2022
On June 23, 2022, the Thai government revoked the mask mandate across the country, following an official ordinance signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha easing certain pandemic regulations. As the announcement published in the Royal Gazette reads, from the aforementioned date, ‘the wearing of hygienic or cloth masks shall be voluntary‘.
According to an official source at the Public Health Ministry, the entity responsible for handling the crisis in Thailand, ‘the lifting of the mask requirement applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces‘. To put it simply, tourists will no longer be expected to wear coverings when strolling the busy streets of Bangkok, or relaxing at Krabi;s paradise beaches.
While they confer some protection against Covid, having been widely used throughout the pandemic, masks have long been associated with discomfort, especially in Western countries like the U.S., where the practice was not common prior to 2020, and particularly warmer, humid environments, like Thailand.
Now, both tourists and residents in Thailand will be able to travel the country mask-free, and without being subject to the much criticized restrictions on movement that had been in place up until recently. With each passing day, tourism in Thailand is edging towards a pre-pandemic state of normality as the nation quickly outpaces its neighbors in reopening.
Right now, mask usage is no longer enforced in all of the following settings:
- Museums, temples and other cultural sites
- All outdoor areas, including public beaches
What About Public Transport And Flights?
At this moment, we have not been able to confirm the ordinance applies to public transport as well, as there is no mention of that in the Royal Gazette. Thai Airways, the country’s flag-carrier, maintains that ‘masks must be worn at all times’ in airports, while Bangkok’s privately-owned metro service confirmed commuters would still have to wear them.
Although the mask requirement has been lifted on a national level, private companies and certain entertainment venues may continue enforcing their usage. Additionally, the Health Ministry has re-issued a recommendation that people should wear masks in ‘crowded or poorly ventilated areas’, despite the nonbinding nature of the statement.
Tourists who may be at a ‘high risk’ of experiencing severe Covid symptoms are also urged to pack enough masks. The list includes the elderly, aged 60 and above, pregnant women, individuals with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory, cardiovascular or kidney diseases, and individuals yet to be fully immunized.
Is Thailand A Safe Destination Right Now?
As reported by Reuters, Thailand’s infection figures are totaling only 8% of the April 4 peak and falling, or only 2,094 new infections on average per day. So far, Thailand has administered nearly 140 million doses of the Covid vaccine, enough to have immunized roughly 99.5% of the population, a higher rate than several Western World countries.
The downward trend, coupled with the successful vaccination campaign and the broader relaxation of rules, gives strong indication that the country is now a safe destination to visit. It also menas the Thai Government’s plan of moving several tourist hotspots, including Phuket, to the endemic phase could materialize soon.
As things stand, social life and tourism have already resumed. In order to enter Thailand quarantine-free from July 1, travelers must present one of the following documents:
- A valid vaccination certificate; or
- A negative ATK/RT-PCR test result issued in the previous 72 hours
Applying for the Thailand Pass and taking out health insurance is no longer mandatory. However, as cancellations plague the industry and travel disruption aggravates, we seriously recommend you get insured ahead of flying to Thailand in order to avoid getting stranded on a trip to South East Asia – or worse.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com