Thailand still being very cautious about Covid and it is annoying
While I hear stories from all around the world about how things are opening up and mask mandates are being lifted I am a little disappointed to see that here in Thailand people still seem to be very committed to masks and continual testing for Covid.
The media doesn't report about the numbers but lately the WHO congratulated Thailand on their diligence and since Thailand never met an accolade that they didn't like, this probably means that this behavior is going to continue.
It is extremely rare to see someone in public that isn't wearing a mask and I don't even have any idea if it is compulsory or if people have just gotten used to it. I know that I am extremely ready for them to get rid of this idea because we find ourselves in a situation where on your way to a massive establishment like a shopping mall, you have to - or at least it appears as though you have to - wear a mask. As soon as you sit down in Sizzler or Starbucks though the masks come off and stay off. It just doesn't make a great deal of sense to me that we are still doing this.
A few friends of mine recently tried to go to a restaurant in Bangkok and before they were allowed in they had to take a rapid test of some sort. They complied. I would have gone to a different restaurant.
I hear some reports that Thailand is going to get rid of the mask mandates for many parts of the country starting mid-June because as it turns out, tourists are not keen on wearing masks everywhere that they go and Thailand is trying really hard to re-ignite the tourism flame for this country.
One aspect of this that the government isn't talking about and I really think they should is the incredible amount of waste that these disposable masks are creating. If you look just about anywhere; on the roadside, in the gutter, on the street, sometimes even airborne, discarded masks are everywhere.
This country already has a very serious lack of waste-management issue and this is only making it much worse.
There has already been a ton of studies that show that the masks don't actually accomplish anything in regards to Covid anyway so I really can't understand why they keep this going. Mid-June is only a little ways away, so I guess I am looking forward to seeing how much of the mandate actually gets dropped. I hope it is total but seeing as how this country moves very slowly, I seriously doubt it.
At the moment I have been told that you can technically be fined up to 20,000 Baht for non-compliance although I am yet to hear of anyone ever being fined. Several people I know including me have been denied entry to places for non compliance and I suppose that is fair enough. Your business, your rules.