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Bars can reopen in Rawai Phuket.. but not like we hoped

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Rawai bars will be allowed to reopen, but with a lot of restrictions. (via Pixabay / Piqsels)

The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived! After mounting pressure and a meeting today with Aroon Solos, the mayor of Rawai, Phuket, bars, pubs and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen.

Just without any of the things that bring customers.

The mayor of Rawai met with the Muang District Chief and a select group of local bar owners in the Rawai Municipality office yesterday to discuss a solution for the hardship entertainment and nightlife venues have experienced over the last 16 months of the Covid-19 pandemic. These venues have been the hardest hit by Covid-19 restrictions, usually being the first sector to be closed when rules are imposed and the last to be allowed to reopen with sanctions are lifted. Countless bars, pubs and nightclubs have permanently closed their doors and gone out of business as a result of the pandemic and ensuing closures.

But Mayor Aroon announced a solution to allow bars to reopen – convert them into restaurants. The plan is to allow bars and pubs to reopen by serving food in their venues instead. It’s worth noting that tactics like this were previously used to skirt laws and avoid closure by operating a bar like a restaurant, though businesses that did this were often prosecuted.

But the mayor’s solution wouldn’t freely allow bars to reopen as long as they served the occasional plate of pad thai or chips. The option to operate as a restaurant would come with a bevvy of rules and restrictions.

Venue owners will be required to strictly enforce all the safety measures outline in the meeting at all times or face closure again and possible penalties. Some measures make good Covid-19 safety sense, while others are a bit more questionable.

The venue must be set up to easily accommodate social distancing, with tables spaced far apart. No more than 4 people can sit at any table at any time. A rule that’s likely to disappoint many: staff will not be allowed to join customers and sit with them at their tables. Hand sanitiser gels must be available not just at the venue’s entrance, but throughout the bar.

More baffling though is a rule that, before bars can reopen, all coloured disco lighting must be swapped out for standard lighting options. Perhaps they fear Covid-19 is transmissible through colour?

SOURCE: The Phuket News


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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