The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday put another 30 provinces under control or the “orange” list amid concerns over the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Meanwhile, nightlife may return to the eight “blue zone” provinces provided the venues have won an official approval before January 15, the CCSA said.
The decision was made during a CCSA meeting held specially to assess concerns over Omicron sparking the fifth wave in Thailand. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The CCSA has also instructed civil servants to work from home for another 14 days as part of measures to curb the contagion, though all public services should remain available.
Meanwhile, restaurants in the 69 provinces will not be allowed to serve booze, though drinking will be allowed in pubs and bars of the eight “blue zone” provinces provided all safety controls are met.
Restaurants and department stores in the 69 tightly controlled provinces will operate as normal.
The 69 provinces are Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Khon Kaen, Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao, Chumphon, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Trang, Trat, Tak, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Sawan, Narathiwat, Nan, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Pattani, Ayutthaya, Phayao, Phatthalung, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Phrae, Mahasarakham, Mukdahan, Mae Hong Son, Yasothon, Yala, Roi Et, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Lopburi, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Si Sa Ket, Sakhon Nakhon, Songkhla, Satun, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkram, Samut Sakhon, Sa Kaew, Saraburi, Singburi, Sukhothai, Suphanburi, Surat Thani, Surin, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Ang Thong, Amnat Charoen, Udon Thani, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.
All fresh markets and convenience stores in these provinces can operate as per normal and there is no curfew.
CCSA has also maintained the number of “blue zone” or tourism-pilot provinces at eight. They are Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Chonburi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phang Nga and Phuket.
From January 16, pubs and bars in the eight blue zone provinces can serve alcoholic drinks until 9pm.
However, dancing, karaoke or any activities requiring close contact will not be allowed. Bars and pubs in these eight provinces can only operate provided they strictly comply with the Covid Free Setting regulations.
As per regulations, all members of staff must be fully vaccinated and undergo rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 every three days.
Entertainment venues will also be closely monitored to prevent infection clusters, and any location found to have sparked infections will be closed.
The CCSA said entertainment businesses in the eight “blue zone” provinces can reopen on January 16 if they have received official approval by January 15.
The Public Health Ministry announced on Friday morning that Thailand had logged 7,526 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 5,775 cases recorded in the previous 24-hour period.