Control and Support Measures in Thailand Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
In order to control the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Thailand, the Thai government announced an Emergency Decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 ("Emergency Decree"). The Emergency Decree empowers the Bangkok Governor and other provincial governors to issue orders for the closure of places posing a risk of disease contagion. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued notifications and set out certain measures in order to prevent and suppress the spread of the disease. The measures include prohibiting entry into risk areas, closure of points of entry into Thailand, prohibiting the assembly of persons, and the closure of places that are risk-prone to the transmission of the disease (including 34 types of venues in the Bangkok area such as department stores, schools, universities, pubs, bars, theatres and sports stadiums). Notably, the government has imposed a curfew between 10 pm and 4 am. The government has, however, introduced measures to keep certain places which are considered essential in normal operation for the convenience and well-being of the nation, and to prevent shortages or unnecessary distress. Examples of such places are hospitals, medical centres, medical clinics, pharmacies, banks and supermarkets.
The government and governmental authorities have also introduced several measures to support businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures include emergency loans and soft loans for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic, SME relief measures, a reduction in the rate of withholding taxes, tax relief measures, additional grounds for tax deductions, extension of time for tax filings, the acceleration of VAT refunds for exporters, cash payouts, the reduction of contributions by employers and employees to the Social Security Office ("SSO") for six-month salary cycles, and compensation from the SSO for employees who are absent from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the rate of 62% of their daily wages for up to 90 days.
On 28 April 2020, the Thai government has announced the extension of the Emergency Decree until 31 May 2020.
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Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only
intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.