Bangkok officials consider allowing alcohol sales at restaurants

Stock photo by Paloma A. for Unsplash

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is considering allowing alcohol sales at restaurants starting Monday as the capital reopens to international arrivals. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced during a CCSA press briefing this afternoon that the BMA was meeting with relevant authorities to decide whether to lift the alcohol ban.

Bangkok is also being reclassified on the Thai government’s colour-coded zoning scale based on Covid-19 infection rates, going from a “dark red” zone under maximum and strict control to a “blue zone” reopening under a pilot program, according to spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun. The nightly curfew in Bangkok will be lifted Sunday night.

According to Coconuts Bangkok, the CCSA approved alcohol sales at restaurants for Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga. The new measures are set to go into effect on Monday, in line with reopening plans.

As Thailand reestablishes its international tourism, allowing fully vaccinated travellers from 46 countries in without quarantine, many have predicted a failure of the grand reopening and even a lasting stain on Thailand’s reputation without the ability for tourists to have a beer or cocktail.

The CCSA slide specifically said the word “restaurants” hinting that the alcohol ban won’t be fully lifted, but merely softened to allow an alcoholic beverage with meals. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has stated that entertainment and nightlife venues like bars, pubs, clubs, and karaoke bars are still ordered to remain closed until further notice. However, gatherings have been permitted, though attendance is limited to less than 500.

The relaxing on alcohol rules will only apply to certain key “blue zones” – tourist areas that are considered to attract tourists that are most likely not to come without the ability to have a drink.

These “blue zones” join the list of “dark red,” “red,” and “orange” zones in Thailand, though their status is determined by tourist marketability and not Covid-19 infections and risk, as tourist hotspots like Chiang Mai and Prachuap Khiri Khan are currently experiencing the worst spikes in infections since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

This is a developing story


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Neill Fronde

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.