Public parks were supposed to reopen today – they didn’t

A photo taken on Monday, June 14, shows that the Suan Rot Fai in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district is still closed to the public. Photo: Suan Rot Fai / Facebook
A photo taken on Monday, June 14, shows that the Suan Rot Fai in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district is still closed to the public. Photo: Suan Rot Fai / Facebook
Update: Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang has signed an order on June 14 allowing parks to reopen effective immediately. Several parks throughout Bangkok reopened on June 15.

Bangkok residents thought they would be able to enjoy green spaces again. It turns out they can’t. Not yet. 

Despite a Facebook post from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Saturday announcing that several venues including public parks, salons, museums, massage parlors and tattoo parlors could reopen today, many people this morning reported being met by sealed gates outside their local parks. 

Would-be park-goers took to social media to air grievances and stem confusion.

“Public parks were supposed to reopen for the first day today. I went to [Santiphap] park at 6am this morning, but the gates were still shut to the public,” @espressoo_ tweeted this morning.

The same incident occurred at a few other parks in the city. An admin of We Love Suan Rot Fai, a public park in Chatuchak district, this morning posted a picture of the closed gates at the park and warned others not to come. 

“As of 7am of Monday, June 14, Suan Rot Fai is still closed. Everyone, do not come here yet. Please share it with your friends, too,” the post declared.

Writer-translator Tomorn Sookprecha posted a picture of a closed gate at Chatuchak Park and said he could not get in as well. He said he had been excited to wake up early to go to the park after seeing the prime minister’s Facebook post over the weekend.

“But I discovered that the park was closed. Yes, the park is still closed!” Tomorn wrote in a Facebook post this morning. “So many people believed the announcement and came to the park only to be disappointed … The security guard told me, ‘today we aren’t going to open, but maybe tomorrow we will.’”

Another visitor to Suan Rot Fai this morning saw the gates shut. A vendor outside the park said it will reopen “tomorrow,” while security guards stationed at entrances to Chatuchak Park told walkers and joggers waiting outside “not today.”

Nong Bon Water Sports Center, a public park and scenic recreational area in Prawet district, announced that it will remain shut until June 30.

There are no official announcements elaborating why public parks remain shut today despite the Prime Minister giving them the go-ahead to reopen.

To contain COVID-19 infections, which have been continuously on the rise since April, public parks were among the many venues ordered shut across the city. They have been closed since May 1. 

Two weeks ago, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that parks and a handful of businesses, including beauty salons and tattoo shops, would be allowed to reopen on June 1. Later the same day, the Prime Minister countermanded the order, effectively keeping them shut indefinitely.

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