Phuket Sandbox Remains Open But Bars Shut

Since the Phuket Sandbox started on 1st July there has been a slight increase in the number of Covid cases on the island, not enough for the Sandbox to be suspended but enough for tightened restrictions to be put in place.

Main picture pre-pandemic bar in Phuket credit Arkady Lukashov on Unsplash

The range of additional restrictions put in place include the temporary shutdown of pubs, bars, karaoke shops and other entertainment venues. Shopping malls and restaurants will close at 9pm and drinking of alcohol in public spaces, including on beaches, is banned.

The measures are likely to be in place until at least 2nd August.

Phuket had set a rolling weekly total of 90 new cases for the Sandbox to be suspended. The island has seen around 12 new cases a day over the last week but that was enough for new measures to be put in place amid fears that the Delta variant may spiral out of control if early measures were not put in place.

“Violations of these Covid-19 control measures will lead to imprisonment of between one and two years and a fine of between 20,000 baht and 100,000 baht.”

“While the Covid-19 situation in Phuket is still now under control, these measures are primarily aimed at keeping the Phuket Sandbox programme going, improving public safety and preventing the outbreak situation from getting worse.”

Piyapong Chuwong, Deputy Phuket Provincial Governor

In the first 17 days of the Sandbox, Phuket had welcomed 7,462 visitors under the scheme. Just 16 visitors have so far tested positive for Covid-19.

Since its launch on July 1, the Phuket Sandbox programme has as of Saturday welcomed a total of 7,462 visitors who are estimated to altogether have spent 200 million baht while staying on the reopened resort island, he said.

“If there is no Phuket Sandbox, no new income is generated. Now many people have begun to earn money from things like rent as many hotel staff members have returned to work and need accommodation.”

“Restaurants, food stalls and markets are reopening and are seeing a rise in customers.”

Piyapong Chuwong, Deputy Phuket Provincial Governor

The Phuket Sandbox was designed to attract domestic as well as foreign tourists. However the worsening Covid situation elsewhere in Thailand, with increased internal travel restrictions, has seen the vast majority of visitors coming from abroad.

Source: Bangkok Post

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