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New Years festivities allowed, if coronavirus rules enforced

Concerts and other activities planned to celebrate New Year are allowed but organisers and revellers must strictly follow rules made to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday.

Organisers must get prior permission from the provincial governor, limit the number of people attending, and ensure all regulations are followed, including wearing of face masks, he said.

His remarks follow the shut down of the Big Mountain Music Festival in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday night, casting doubt on whether other entertainment activities planned this month would be allowed to proceed.

Health officials had reported many concert-goers were not wearing their face masks and not observing social distancing rules at the crowded venue, and it was ordered to close.

The organisers initially defied the ban and negotiated with provincial officials to continue the show. The plug was finally pulled at 10pm, four hours before it was scheduled to close. 

Mr Anutin posted a Facebook message on Sunday supporting allowing Big Mountain to continue. But he did a flip on Monday, saying he supported the provincial committee’s decsion to order it closed, because the health of the public was a priority.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesman, also said on Monday that concerts and other activities were still allowed, despite the closure of the Big Mountain festival.

Dr Taweesilp said the strict cooperation of organisers and those in attendance was crucial to contain the spread of novel coronarivus disease. 

“The most important element is the cooperation of the people,” he said.

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