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Longer Lao New Year Holiday Announced, State Offices Banned From Celebrating

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has announced that Wednesday April 13 will be given as a holiday in compensation for April 16, which is a Saturday, and is traditionally the last day of the three-day Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) holiday.

The Prime Minister’s Office on March 23 issued a notice announcing the new year holiday.

The annual Pi Mai Lao is observed for three days on April 14-16 every year. The addition of Wednesday as a public holiday means that festival celebrators can look forward to a longer holiday, running from Wednesday to Sunday.

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However, the government has banned state departments from holding events to celebrate the new year, as part of efforts to fulfil its policy on frugal practices amid the rising cost of living.

The government’s austerity measures are an example that everyone should follow, the announcement said.
Amid the escalating Covid-19 outbreak, the government has also instructed provincial-level taskforces for Covid-19 prevention and control to introduce measures to contain the virus during the new year celebrations, depending on infection rates in local communities.

In recent days, the number of new Covid cases reported has skyrocketed, with the new wave of infections forcing some ministries to re-impose tough restrictions.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce have instructed their staff to work from home and to take turns working in offices in order to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe.

The spike in Covid cases has triggered concerns that stricter rules might be re-enforced, including a ban on large gatherings and celebrations such as are enjoyed during Pi Mai Lao.