There is talk about removing all mask mandates in Thailand by June 15th
Thailand is struggling with tourism and they have finally started to realize something that I could have told them 6 months ago: People don't want to be hassled while they are on vacation and if you are going to hassle them, they are going to choose to go somewhere else.
This is what has been happening in Thailand in regards to their dramatically declined tourism industry. The government says that they are doing all they can in order to re-open the country after 2 years of lockdown, but they aren't really. If there is one thing that the Thai government - and probably most other governments of the world, absolutely excel at it is red-tape and this insane desire to tell people what to do.
It is extremely rare to see anyone not wearing a mask in Thailand and it is technically legally mandated that everyone has to mask up in public or face a fine of up to 20,000 Baht. I've never heard of anyone actually being fined and they almost certainly wouldn't be fined this much because this is much more money than your average Thai person makes in an entire month. They would probably just gauge how much they think they could steal from you.
Anyway, corruption aside it has been determined that people are opting to NOT travel to Thailand even though the country is technically open. This is because of the hassles of the mandatory health insurance, the additional steps people have to go through with the "Thailand Pass" program and the fact that once the tourist jumps through all of these hoops they have a vacation of masking up at all times to look forward to. Who wants to do that? I know I wouldn't.
Although they have eased up on this dramatically, there was a time that you had to wear a mask at the beach. I'm not sure if this applied to people that were in the water or not. I know I just ignored the rule but it wouldn't surprise me if we were meant to wear a wet mask in the water while swimming and potentially suffocating ourselves. There isn't a lot of thought that goes into these decisions - mostly I just feel that the government officials enjoy pushing people around and telling them what to do.
The things I find the most frustrating about this is that most nations are abandoning the entire mask-wearing things because it has been determined by most sensible nations that outside of very specific situations and when a certain type of mask is worn in a very specific and proper way, they don't actually protect you from anything anyway - certainly not Covid. Yet there are some countries that still cling to this idea and force the population to comply because: reasons.
Thailand is suffering though and I think that if they don't move quickly some other nearby nations are going to steal their tourism thunder in the long-run as well as the short. I think that some higher ups in the government are starting to see the light as far as this is concerned because while it is by no means official yet, there is chatter from the Deputy Prime Minister about reviewing and removing mask mandates nationwide starting on the 15th of June.
Here's another thing that I have found amusing and frustrating about these mandates over the past few years. They ALWAYS take place on the 1st or 15th of a month. Is there some protocol that we are not aware of that dictates that no other dates can be used? To me it just seem so arbitrary and stupid.
If you are interested here is a somewhat official press release about how the Ministry of Public Health supports the ending of mask mandates in "most situations."
You can be all but guaranteed that this will not apply to Bangkok or on public transport. I would imagine that the notion of masks being effective will probably last in these areas for years.
I certainly hope that they do decide to scrap the mandates though. They are annoying and ineffective and they are preventing the economic recovery of the country.