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Chon Buri and Pattaya bar scene get good news, but at what cost?

Tim Newton

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The reality is that many ‘bars’ will rush to achieve certification as an SHA+ approved ‘restaurant’.

The signwriters in Pattaya will be busy making new ‘restaurant’ signs as hundreds of bars vie to open up, serving food, so they can serve alcohol and get their businesses going again. It’s all smoke and mirrors but an advancement for the seaside party town’s entertainment lockdown that’s lingered longer than other tourists areas in the country during Thailand’s tourism ‘reopening’.

New orders, announced on Friday, say that alcohol sales and drinks will now be allowed in the Chon Buri province, including Pattaya and Bang Lamung, as the province become a ‘Blue Zone’ area. The new zoning for these locations is effective from Friday night when the announcement was made.

Apart from Bang Lamung and Pattaya, the new blue zoning includes Koh Larn, Si Racha, Koh Sichang, and in the Najomtien and Bang Saray areas of the Sattahip district.

So how will this all work in practice? Restaurants will need to be in a blue zone and comply with SHA+ certification are allowed alcohol sales and drinks inside. Alcohol sales are allowed from 11am. – 2pm, then from 5pm – 11pm. The SHA+ certification will have to be on clear display.

Premises acting as nightclubs, pubs, bars, karaoke and ‘soapie’ massage’ parlours will have to remain closed.

The reality is that many ‘bars’ will rush to achieve certification as an SHA+ approved ‘restaurant’. The SHA registration requires additional lighting, ventilation, social distancing and, of course, food. To what extent the bar and nightlife scene will wade through the loopholes and paperwork in the new blue zoning is yet to be seen. They will be weighing the additional costs of registration and adding food to their services, against the hope of patronage to pay for all the messing around.

If what’s happened in Phuket in recent months, is any indication, then there will be a level of ‘accommodation’ provided by officials who understand that some tourists are wanting a normalisation of Thailand’s nightlife before going to the effort of booking expensive flights and going through the Thailand Pass process.

The Thaiger has reached out to Bryan Flowers from the Night Wish Group who has been one of Pattaya’s major protagonists to get the bar scene open again. We will report on his responses in the next few days.

 

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    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

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