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Business and government leaders meet to reopen Pattaya bars

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Pattaya business and government officials met to try to reopen entertainment venues. (via Wikimedia)

A high-level meeting is the latest in the non-stop attempts by businesses in Pattaya to reopen bars and entertainment venues, with business leaders and government officials meeting at Pattaya City Hall yesterday to discuss the issue. The conference was run by the president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, the Bang Lamung District Chief, the mayor of Pattaya, and a representative of the Jomtien Bar and Restaurant Owner’s Association.

Provincial and health officials from Chon Buri were also in attendance as well as the new Pattaya Police Chief and several senior law enforcement officials from Pattaya and Chon Buri. They met with representatives covering almost all sectors from various tourism and business organisations.

The president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association spoke at the meeting about how restaurants can now serve alcohol until 11 pm and have been operating as bars while entertainment venues remain shuttered. He pointed to the lack of surges in Covid-19 infections despite many festivals drawing crowds to Pattaya each week, crowds that other sectors can earn money from by the nightlife sectors can do nothing.

“We have continued to ask the CCSA for the legal reopening of bars and entertainment venues before New Year as there will be many tourists that visit Pattaya. Pattaya has been running massive events every weekend since November 1st and there has been no sign of an increase in Covid-19 cases in the area, despite tens of thousands of domestic tourists visiting every single weekend and many events, like the fireworks festival, being very successful.”

He argued that over 80% of the province has had at least one vaccine and in Pattaya City, over 85% of people are fully vaccinated and that the majority of provincial Covid-19 faces are not near tourists, being found in construction and factory work camps mainly. Even the hospitals are well equipped with sufficient beds available to handle any outbreak.

The tourism leader pointed out the inequality as some bars with enough resources have converted to “restaurants” and gone through the complex SHA+ certification, but small businesses crippled by the pandemic don’t have the time or money to make that conversion and get certified.

He also stressed that the nightlife industry recognises that there are many citizens, organisations, and government officials that detest Pattaya’s reputation as a sleazy party scene, but asserts that bars and clubs are the magnets that draw a high percentage of tourists to the area, and the influx of people means profits not just for bars, but for restaurants, shops, hotels and virtually every other business sector in the area.

The meeting ended with fairly mutual agreement that steps need to be taken to reopen entertainment venues, but in the end, it is the CCSA that can allow this to happen, and so far they haven’t budged from their plans to reconsider opening nightlife venues after January 15.

SOURCE: The Pattaya 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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