Revellers must be fully vaccinated and produce a negative antigen test result issued within 72 hours before taking part in a New Year countdown event with at least 1,000 participants, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the CCSA, said these requirements, announced in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday, are under Section 9 of the emergency decree, which was imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Events with at least 1,000 participants, organisers, staff, singers, and musicians must be fully vaccinated and undergo antigen testing 72 hours prior to the event.
As for patrons, they must be fully vaccinated, and be able to produce a negative ATK test result issued 72 hours prior to the event, Dr Srirangson said, noting certain requirements will also apply to events with less than 1,000 participants.
She said CCSA operation centre officials yesterday discussed virus containment measures for New Year countdown parties, particularly in Bangkok.
For such events with less than 1,000 participants, such as family or corporate parties, the centre will work with the Department of Disease Control to issue a set of guidelines that will be easy for them to follow, she said.
For example, organisers of events with more than 300 participants will be required to seek prior permission from Bangkok’s district offices or provincial communicable disease committees, she said.
She said that New Year’s Eve events, which will bring many people together, are still at risk of spreading COVID-19, so people should heed advice from the Public Health Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Dr Srirangson also said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the ministry to consider allowing ATKs to be used to screen participants at all kinds of events and social functions, in addition to New Year countdown parties.
She said that CCSA officials will inspect major New Year’s Eve events in the provinces, such as those in Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima.
They will also visit Nong Khai on 24th December, when a ceremony will be held to open the first Thai-Lao land border checkpoint to welcome tourists and boost cross-border trade, Dr Srirangson said.
The checkpoint will serve as a model for screening tourists who enter Thailand under the test-and-go scheme by land, she said, adding this will be in line with the reopening of the border with Laos on 1st January.
Such a model will also be carried out in Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani, she said.
On Monday, the CCSA also decided to allow the consumption of alcohol in restaurants nationwide on New Year’s Eve until 1am on 1st January on the condition that they are open-air restaurants.
Dr Srirangson stressed that the permission applies only to restaurants and eateries, not nightlife venues, such as pubs. They will face legal action if they sell alcohol in violation of the CCSA’s order, she said.
She said during a daily briefing on the COVID-19 situation that a new cluster of infections was detected at a construction camp for workers in Bangkok’s Klong Toey district. Of the 120 workers who underwent antigen testing during a weekly proactive mass testing, 56 tested positive and all were quarantined for treatment, she said.
Also, Thailand logged 41 more COVID-19 fatalities and 3,537 new cases registered in the previous 24 hours, the ministry said yesterday.