Thai authorities are carefully watching any potential source of infection in Bangkok at this time as the second virus wave recedes. The proximity of the capital city with its large and dense population from the epicentre of the largest outbreak the country has seen, calls for vigilance and caution.
Nervous officials in Bangkok have moved to cancel marriages in the capital on St Valentine’s Day and large crowds congregating at 50 district offices across the city. No marriages will be registered on the day and couples are requested to make an appointment using an app provided by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Love and marriage have taken another hit because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which, this year, sees Thai authorities particularly nervous about Bangkok at a time when officials are winning their battle against the second wave of the virus.
It is understood that the greatest danger lies still in Samut Sakhon province west of the city where the biggest outbreak of the disease Thailand has seen so far, erupted in mid-December among migrant workers from Myanmar.
In the course of the last week, authorities have been stepping up testing at workplaces to the west of the city after a number of outbreaks at workplaces where people were found not to be observing safety protocols and a cluster related to a well known DJ’s birthday party, were discovered putting health officials on guard.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, action was taken
So when officials looked at the calendar and saw Valentine’s day up and coming next on Sunday the 14th, they decided to take action.
The day is a popular one for marriage among Thai love birds and indeed also for Foreign Thai couples which form a significant number of marriages in Bangkok particularly at the Bang Rak marriage registration counter at the district office in the centre of the city.
Popular city centre district office a ‘place of love’
Bang Rak in a rough translation from Thai to English means ‘place of love’ and is a known destination for many Thai women marrying foreigners who come to Bangkok to register their marriages because of the proximity to embassies and other offices that are required to officially notarise such unions.
Last year, 773 couples tied the knot at Bang Rak district office in the city on the 14th of February when nearly 3,000 pairs got married citywide on the day known, worldwide, for love and romance.
No Valentines Day marriages this year in Bangkok
This year, however, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has announced that no marriage registrations will be conducted on Valentine’s Day. Details were given by Silapasuay Raweesangsoon, the permanent secretary for the BMA.
Instead, at this time of caution because of the Covid-19 threat, marriage registrations will be restricted to limited opening hours and must be booked in advance at any of the 50 district offices within the Bangkok Metropolitan area for days other than February 14th.
Appointments on the BMA smartphone app and take a place in the queue to ensure social distancing
Those interested in getting married should use the BMAQ smartphone app and contact the relevant office with a preferred date or time and they will be given appointments and guidance on travelling to the office.
Ms Silapasuay explained that the app provides a queue system where people can reserve their appointment slots in order to ensure maximum safety for those getting married and staff at the offices across the capital city.