Following the closure of entertainment venues in 41 provinces for 2 weeks, Pattaya police warn that bars acting as restaurants and restaurants acting as bars would be punished. In Pattaya, police patrolled heavily to check in on venues and remind them of the penalties and fines for breaking shut-down rules. The current outbreak of Covid-19 throughout Thailand has been disproportionately spread by nightclubs and bars, including many pubs in Chon Buri and Bangkok. While the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has called for a 2-week closure, the Chon Buri edict is open-dated, expected to be in effect until conditions improve. One warning Pattaya police stressed was that, while restaurants are allowed to stay open and sell alcohol, abusing that exception will be punished.
In previous entertainment venue shutdowns during the pandemic, many businesses took advantage of the restaurant loophole. As there’s no exact wording in the law saying people have to order food and not only drinks, many restaurants served drinks and allowed dancing and socializing without any social distancing. Some bars were even seen hastily adding a quick food menu of easy snacks in an attempt to skirt the rules and operate as a restaurant serving alcohol. But this time Pattaya police warn that restaurants using these sneaky tricks won’t be tolerated. Even businesses with multi licenses will need to take measures to make it clear they are not operating more like a bar as police will have the discretion to make judgement calls on venues.
The 2-week closure of entertainment venues went into effect yesterday and banquet halls, movie theatres, saunas and soapies are all closed. Restaurants are allowed to stay open, but with a 10 pm curfew on dine-in services. Takeaway food is allowed after 10 pm until 5 in the morning. Officials hope this shutdown on Covid-19 spreading entertainment venues will slow the outbreak enough to avoid the dreaded full lockdowns, travel restrictions, and domestic quarantines.
SOURCE: The Pattaya News
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