Bangkokians were ordered to wear masks starting Monday or they could be subject to a hefty fine, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang announced on Sunday.
People who violate the rule could be fined up to 20,000 baht under the Communicable Disease Act. According to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the penalty would also apply to all establishments that fail to require mask-wearing for those who are in their facilities.
The move comes amid a third wave of cases that has led the capital to record the highest infection rate so far this year.
Since the last outbreak began earlier this month, Bangkok has logged 8,175 confirmed cases, more than double the number of the second-most-infected area, Chiang Mai, which has only recorded 3,148 infections this month.
Additionally, the capital saw cases multiply from 300 on Monday to more than 1,000 a day over the weekend.
Another 45 provinces also joined Bangkok and imposed the mandatory use of masks outside the home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. They are Chiang Rai, Phetchabun, Sukhothai, Tak, and Uttaradit in the north.
In the west, the group includes Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon.
Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Lop Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Saraburi, Suphan Buri, Trat are the central and east provinces that decided to follow the same measure.
Also, in the south, the group of provinces that ordered the use of the masks comprises Narathiwat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phangnga, Phuket, Ranong, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Trang, and Yala.
The decision to order the mandatory mask-wearing comes when the country faces a significant increase in cases due to the third wave of the novel coronavirus.
On Sunday, authorities reported 2,438 new cases and 11 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 55,460 and the death toll to 140. The COVID-19-related body count was a record in the country for the second day in a row after registering eight on Saturday.