Rules, potential fines and prison terms that will apply to foreign tourists traveling to Phuket from July 1st, 2021
Here at Tasty Thailand, we will eat our hats, socks, shoes, shirts and shorts if more than a handful of people travel to Phuket in 2021 via the Phuket Sandbox.
After all, as rules for the Phuket Sandbox change daily, and rumors of punishments and fines if you don’t follow the Covid-19 rules fly all over social media, Thai authorities have finally released the full rules for travel to Phuket in 2021, including the large fines and prison terms you could receive if you violate them.
The rules were released in a document called “Phuket Province Order No. 3491/2564”, which was signed and issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew on Friday, June 25th, 2021.
While many of the rules that must be followed during the Phuket Sandbox are those that have already been talked about in/on Thai news, new ones are quite surprising.
Including the mandatory first night quarantine in your hotel while your Covid-19 test results arrive, the strict rules for travel from Phuket after your first 14 days on the prison, oops sorry, Thai island, and the up to 100,000 baht fine ($3,333), and up to two years in a Thai jail punishment if you violate those rules while on your Phuket vacation.
Read the full Phuket Province Order No. 3491/2564 below (source: The Phuket News), but be warned your eyes will glaze over before you finish.
Then find out how to cancel your holiday to Phuket in 2021, as thousands now seem to be doing if the latest comments on social media are anything to go by.
Phuket Province Order No. 3491/2564 — Effective from July 1, 2021 onwards.
Subject: Determination of travel screening measures for entering Phuket according to the prevention and control measures for the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
According to the state of emergency declaration in all localities throughout the Kingdom from March 26, 2020, after which the enforcement period of emergency declaration has been extended until July 31, 2021 and following Phuket Provincial Order No. 2920/2564 dated May 28, 2021 Subject: Determination of travel screening measures for entering Phuket according to the prevention and control measures for COVID-19.
Because the Cabinet has passed a resolution on June 22, 2021 to acknowledge and approve in principle opening a pilot area for tourists in Phuket, the province will accept tourists from countries that are low-risk or medium-risk areas who have been vaccinated with vaccines recognised by the [Thai] Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO); have been vaccinated with the approved the full amount of dosage; and have passed the COVID-19 testing process within 72 hours prior to travel to be able to travel to travel in Phuket without quarantine in order to stimulate the overall economy of the province. From July 1, 2021 onwards, therefore, in order to prepare for the opening of the city for tourists along with public health measures Phuket Province needs to set measures to control, monitor, and trace tourists coming from abroad and the general public who will travel to Phuket. To prevent infection and spread in Phuket by virtue of Section 22, Section 34, Section 35 of the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 and the provisions issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (No. 1) dated 25 March 2020 (No. 20) dated April 16, 2021 (No. 23) dated May 15, 2021 and (No. 24) dated June 19, 2021, the Governor of Phuket with the approval of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee according to the resolution of the meeting No. 40/2564 dated June 21, 2021, the Phuket Province Order No. 2920/2564 dated May 28, 2021 was canceled and issued an order specifying the screening measures for travel into Phuket according to the following preventive and control measures for COVID-19.
Article 1. Measures for travelers entering the Kingdom at Phuket International Airport for foreigners and Thai people. Travelers must have the following qualifications and practices:
1) Must be a traveler from a low-risk or medium-risk country according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Public Health and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. In case of traveling from other countries must reside in the country specified above for at least 21 days before entering Phuket.
2) Must have a certificate of entry to the Kingdom (Certificate of Entry – COE).
3) Must be vaccinated as recognised in Thailand, 2 doses (according to vaccine type) at least 14 days before travel and have a document certifying vaccination (Vaccine Certificate). Children under 6 years old can travel with their parents
4) Must have a medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected by RT-PCR method up to 72 hours prior to departure.
5) If you have been infected, you must receive 2 scheduled injections (according to the type of vaccine) at least 14 days [prior].
6) Must have an insurance policy in the amount of not less than US$100,000 that covers healthcare and medical expenses or any other collateral expenses in case of COVID-19 infection throughout the traveler’s stay in the Kingdom.
7) Must have a COVID-19 test by RT-PCR method 3 times. The first time will be on the date of arrival in the Kingdom (day 0) at Phuket Airport. The tourist must stay in the hotel room for 1 night to wait for the results. The tourist is to receive notification of the results on the second day through the Manager (COVID-19 Manager)
The second time will be on day 6-7 at the hotel, or by a laboratory (outside lab) by the contracting hospital [assigned to provide COVID test services to the hotel where the tourist si staying]
The third test will be on day 12-13 at the hotel, residence or laboratory (outdoor lab) by the contracting hospital.
8) Must stay at a hotel that has received SHA + (SHA Plus) certification in Phuket for a period of 14 nights, before being allowed to travel outside of Phuket to travel in other provinces. In case of staying less than 14 nights, must travel outside the Kingdom only.
9) Travelers can travel in Phuket and carry out tourism activities and visit service establishments that have received SHA+ (SHA Plus) standards under the D-M-H-T-T-A measures
10) Install the Thailand Plus application and the MorChana tracing application and allow the geographic coordinate system (GPS) to be tracked through the application throughout the period of stay in Thailand.
Article 2. Those who come from abroad and wish to travel out of Phuket to travel to other provinces or traveling out of the Kingdom by air (Phuket International Airport) are to comply with the following:
Tourists who have stayed in Phuket for 14 nights and wish to leave Phuket must show documentary evidence to the officers at the departure gate checkpoint at the domestic terminal or the international terminal as follows:
- Passport and visa validated by Phuket Airport Immigration (except Thai nationals)
- Proof of COVID-19 test showing that COVID-19 was not detected during the 14-night stay in Phuket with the document issued by an agency of the Ministry of Public Health
- Evidence of staying at a hotel or accommodation that has received SHA+ (SHA Plus) standards.
Article 3. Those who come from abroad and wish to leave Phuket to travel to other provinces by land and by boat are to comply with the following practices:
By land (Tha Chatchai checkpoint)
Those who wish to travel outside of Phuket must present a documents confirming that the government has approved the procedures with a stamp in the passport attachment indicating the length of stay in Phuket, evidence of a COVID-19 test that shows that COVID-19 was not detected during the 14-day period of residence in Phuket issued by an agency of the Ministry of Public Health, and proof of residence in a SHA+ (SHA Plus) certified establishment in Phuket for a period of 14 nights.
By boat (via pier)
1. For those who travel from abroad and stay in Phuket for 14 nights who wish to leave Phuket by boat are able to travel by passenger boat from the designated pier as follows:
- Ao Por Pier, Pa Khlok Subdistrict, Thalang District, Phuket Province
- Rassada Pier, Rassada Subdistrict, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket Province
- Chalong Pier, Chalong Subdistrict, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket Province
In case of traveling by yacht, must depart from the designated port as follows:
- Yacht Haven Marina Pier, Mai Khao Subdistrict, Thalang District, Phuket Province
- Ao Por Grand Marina Pier, Pa Khlok Subdistrict, Thalang District, Phuket Province
- Phuket Boat Lagoon, Koh Kaew Subdistrict, Mueang Phuket District Phuket Province
- Royal Phuket Marina, Koh Kaew Subdistrict, Mueang Phuket District Phuket Province
- Chalong Pier, Chalong Subdistrict, Mueang Phuket District Phuket Province
by notifying the regional port authority, Phuket branch or the COVID-19 Epidemic Monitoring and Control Operations Center to support tourists Phuket Province (Phuket Sandbox) at least 6 hours before departure.
2. Travelers must present the following evidence:
- Passport and visa validated by Phuket Airport Immigration (except Thai nationals)
- Evidence of COVID-19 testing, showing that COVID-19 was not detected during the 14-night stay in Phuket, issued by an agency of the Ministry of Public Health
- Proof of stay in a SHA+ (SHA Plus) certified hotel or accommodation
3. In case of foreign travelers who wish to travel in Phuket waters. Must depart from the designated piers: Ao Por Pier, Rassada Pier, Chalong Pier, Yacht Haven Marina Pier, Ao Por Grand Pier Marina, Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina.
Travelers must perform the following:
- Register a tracking system by reporting yourself through the application as prescribed by the government
- Passenger vessels must be equipped with an automatic identification system (AIS, not lower than Type B) and equipped with VHF radios ready for use at all times and in accordance with Marine Department regulations
- The ship/boat owner, operator or shipowner’s representative must provide notification of the ship entering and leaving the port according to the report form along with the correct documents to the officers according to Article 2 for inspection before the ship/boat departs the port or when the ship has finished berthing. The procedure requires the following documents:
3.1 Vessels in-out port report form
3.2 List of passengers and captain/crew
3.3 Insurance account or policy which must be commensurate for the passengers embarking on the ship (if any).
4. Port operators, ship masters, ship operators, seafarers, crew, ship staff and passengers shall comply with the Notification of the Harbor Department No. 8/2564 dated January 11, 2021 regarding the requirement that ship operators Port operators, ship owners, ship operators and passengers in the event that a state of emergency is declared in all localities throughout the Kingdom in terms that are not strictly specified in this announcement.
NOTE: In the case of foreign travelers who wish to depart from Phuket but are unable to show evidence at the land checkpoint (Tha Chatchai checkpoint) at the boat checkpoint (designated port) will not be able to travel outside of Phuket in all cases – except for departing from Phuket to depart from the Kingdom of Thailand, which must be via Phuket International Airport only.
Article 4. Traveling to Phuket by Thai people from other provinces or foreigners residing in Thailand. The Tha Chatchai checkpoint, the water channel (pier) at every port in Phuket and domestic channels at Phuket International Airport, travelers except children under 6 years old traveling with parents must have one of the qualifications and must comply with the following practices:
1) Must be a person who has received 2 injections of COVID-19 vaccine or complete the dose according to the number of vaccines for each type or have received 1 dose of AstraZeneca vaccine at least 14 days prior; or
2) A person who has recovered from symptoms of COVID-19 not more than 90 days prior, or
3) Tested negative for COVID-19 by RT-PCR method or Antigen Test method no more than 7 days prior
4) Must download and install the application “MorChana” on the smartphone and agree to open the location sharing (Location) throughout the period of stay in Phuket.
5) Show the above documents to the Communicable Disease Control Officer before entering Phuket
6) Observe your symptoms (Self Monitoring) according to preventive measures to control the disease.
If you are sick or suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19, see a doctor immediately.
Infected people who intentionally conceal travel information or report false information to communicable disease control officials. This hinders the investigation and control of the disease resulting in the spread of pathogens. It may be considered a violation or failure to comply with the order of the communicable disease control officer, which is an offense under the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 as well.
Article 5. Phuket Province [the Phuket provincial government] has established an operations center to control the opening of the city [Phuket] to accommodate Phuket Tourism Sandbox tourists, and to manage and assign tasks accordingly; supervising and monitoring travel in and out of Phuket of foreign tourists and Thai people both traveling from abroad and within the country from the point of arrival until the departure from the province; duties include organising a system for monitoring information on the entry and exit of tourists, surveillance and tracking; to assess the infection situation, complaints or public opinions. All problems, obstacles to practice measures and solutions are to be reported to the CCSA and the ministry of Public Health on an ongoing basis by providing a communication system to connect with important locations, including:
- Phuket Airport Immigration
- Land Immigration Checkpoint (Tha Chatchai Checkpoint)
- Water immigration checkpoint
- Coordinating center for public and private hospitals (Provincial Public Health Office)
- Provincial Police, Marine Police and Tourist Police
- Hotel/Accommodation Coordination Center (SHA Plus Manager)
- SHA+ Establishment Coordination Center (SHA Plus) (Provincial Tourism and Sports Office)
- Royal Thai Navy, Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center, Thai-MECC 3, Phuket Province
- Southern Digital Economy Promotion Agency and National Telecommunications Public Company Limited
Article 6. The Phuket Provincial Public Health Office must develop a response plan and a plan to delay or cancel the project. If there are more than 90 new cases per week, there are characteristics of a spread of infection in all 3 districts in the province and more than 6 sub-districts, if there are outbreaks in more than 3 clusters, or a widespread outbreak with no cause or link, or if at least 80% of the number of beds available for infected patients, there will be 4 levels of adjustment measures as follows:
- Reduce activities
- Execute the action plan to support the situation (Sealed Route)
- Quarantine measures within the Hotel Quarantine
- Review the end of the Phuket Sandbox project
Article 7. Asking for cooperation from those who travel to Phuket. Comply with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (D-M-H-T-T-A) including:
D – Distancing = keep distance between each other
M – Mask Wearing = Always wear a cloth mask / hygienic mask.
H – Hand Washing = wash your hands often
T – Temperature = measure temperature
T – Testing = Test for COVID-19
A – Application = Install and scan the application ThaiChana and MorChana.
Article 8. Violation of non-compliance with orders or measures
1) In the case of aliens entering the Kingdom:
1.1 Violation of the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 may be punishable according to Section 51 and Section 52
1.2 Violation of the order under the preventive measures for travelers entering the Kingdom and the rules of action which the government has specified, such as traveling outside of Phuket before a period of 14 nights or as specified without permission or not cooperating to receive treatment, etc., may be the cause of revocation of permission to stay in the Kingdom under the Immigration Act B.E. 2522, Section 36 and may consider not allowing entry into the Kingdom, in accordance with the order of the Minister of Interior No. 1/2015 dated 27 November 2015 regarding the prohibition of certain classes of aliens from entering the Kingdom.
2) In the case of a person of Thai nationality:
2.1 Violations of non-compliance with the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 may result in penalties according to Section 51 and Section 52
3) In the case of tour operators, tour leaders or guides including vehicle owners, vehicle operators or a crew member carrying an alien on board:
3.1 Violations of non-compliance with the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 may result in penalties according to Section 51 and Section 52
3.2 Violation of disease prevention measures for travelers entering the Kingdom and the rules of action prescribed by the government, the license may be suspended under Section 45 or the license may be revoked under Section 46 of the Tourism Business and Guide Act B.E. 2551, as the case may be, if the conditions are met by law.
In addition, because it is an urgent case, if it is left too late, it will cause serious damage to the public or affect the public interest. Therefore, the parties may not exercise their right to object under Section 30 paragraph two (1) of the Administrative Procedure Act, B.E. 2539.
If anyone violates or fails to comply with this order may be an offense under Section 51, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand baht, or Section 52, subject to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand baht, or both of the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 and may Being punished under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree, B.E. 2548, in accordance with the provisions issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree, B.E. 2548 shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. or a fine not exceeding forty thousand baht or both.
In other words, it is likely only those tourists absolutely desperate to visit Thailand will do so during the Phuket Sandbox and its accompanying regulations.