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Bangkok nightclub has special booth to vet and upcharge foreigners

Caitlin Ashworth



A Bangkok nightclub has set up what resembles an immigration counter outside the venue to check foreigners’ IDs and make them pay up before entering. At BarBarBar in Thong Lor, Thais get in free, but foreigners are asked to step aside to the booth and either pay 500 baht or buy a bottle of alcohol before entering the venue.

Bouncers outside BarBarBar check everyone’s IDs before they enter, making sure they’re at least 20 years old. But foreigners are pointed to the booth and are basically vetted before entering.

An employee sits behind a clear barrier to check IDs and collect cash. A sign reads: “In this situation of epidemic Covid-19, ALL tourists must stay in Thailand 14 days without any symptoms before entering the club. Also, real passport are only granted entry to our club. We kindly request our guest to co-operate.”

Foreigners have 2 options at BarBarBar: Pay 500 baht or cut a deal for a group of foreigners by purchasing alcohol. Menus are at the counter listing some alcohol packages priced at 15,000 baht and 17,000 baht.

While the club has an advisory for foreign tourists, only around 200 foreign tourists have been able to enter Thailand since travel restrictions were put in place in March. The first group of visitors on the new Special Tourist Visa (just 39 people) arrived last month and were recently released from quarantine.

Also… who takes their passport to a nightclub? The nightclub has taken other forms of identification, like a digital work permit, but apparently the club has turned people down for not having their real passport. A man left a review on Google saying he was an old customer at BarBarBar, but the last time he tried to get in the bouncers turned down him down because he just had a photo of his passport. “Really racist,” he wrote.

Here’s what some of the reviews say on Google…

“Didn’t let me in because I was a foreigner… Racist bar. Will never go back.”

“A great bar. But if you are a westerner, you’re not welcome there.”

“This place clearly doesn’t want foreigners. Middle of a pandemic, zero tourists in the country, and they want to charge 500 baht while Thais are free. I guess it’s free if you buy a bottle, which I was going to do, but the rudeness I experienced at the “foreigners counter” along with the foreigner charge was a no go for me. Walked 30 metres to another club, bought a bottle and enjoyed my night.”

The Thaiger reached out to BarBarBar for comment, but they did not respond.

Foreigners in Thailand are familiar with dual pricing. The upcharge for foreigners at tourist destinations like temples and national parks led local blogger and school employee in Samut Prakan, Richard Barrow, to start the initiative 2PriceThailand. Since then, the Tourism Authority of Thailand announced they would start discussions with national park officials and the Wildlife and Plant Conservation department about ending dual pricing for foreigners.

While duel pricing is nothing new in Thailand, some venues and events started banning foreigners after the coronavirus outbreak. Back in July, Fullmoon Terrace and Bar in Lat Phrao, the northeast suburbs of Bangkok, refused to serve foreigners. Blogger Yan Marchal posted a video of himself visiting the bar and being asked to leave almost as soon as he sat down.


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  1. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    If these business do not want Foreigners then they should just put it in a sign instead of treating a foreigner with contempt. If they do not want dogs, Durian or Foreigners then it should be posted. It is their country and right to refuse business with foreigners but it is unfair and not a smart business choice in my opinion. If I was a bar owner I would welcome all people equally and kindly to build a long term set of regular customers.

    • Avatar

      Jason Capilano

      Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      There’s a lot of nationalistic animosity left over from the era of development money western nations expertise had to pour into Thailand to lift people out of the extremes of poverty endemic to Thailand when it was “discovered” by westerners in the 1960’s.

      Places like Pattaya and Farang are a constant reminder of how the western culture, and improved lifestyle opportunities, enjoyed by so many cocky young Thai, was invented. Many don’t like to be reminded of what the front door to Thailand looked like not long ago.

      “Farang Money” after the Vietnam War, lifted millions of Thai out of poverty, Mom’s and Dads had a job instead of seasonal starvation in the rice paddy… Superior western expertise as the obvious catalyst for the ‘faux modernity’ that reflectd Thailands remaining endemic poverty I suppose left many Thai resenting foreigners who always seemed to have more moneyy. It leaves both envy and discordant emotions in a younger generation of Thai who would rather forget that Thailand was a “Have Not” country until very recently.

      This generation would rather not be reminded of that history by older farang scooping up pretty girls right under their noses at the same bar. It’s all understandable. Let them enjoy their youthful bravado. Only the goofy would find offense.

  2. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Pretty dumb of this club. How the f**k can you go to a night club if you’re in quarantine?? lol. The sign makes no sense

    • Avatar


      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      Not just barbarbar, adjoining demo club as well, passports. Seems dumb as route 66 is now free… For everyone. Plenty of options, in fact baby face is the new rocking club in thonglor. No need for a passport, just id. No entry price too. Rip demo.

  3. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    I’m not sure many farangs understand the situation. The thais who own first world businesses here, have plenty of money. They don’t need to beg you to patronize their establishments. If you’re going to be allowed to enjoy their venue, they’re going to make obscene mark ups with your visit. Don’t like, too bad. You can complain on the internet, boycott them.. they don’t care.

    If they did this just wouldn’t happen. You can go drink sangsom out front of 711 if you want a cost effective experience… or… just go to a different bar. Why does 1 bar now represent the entirety of Thailand and thai hospitality. No body is putting gun to your head and demanding money. Its a stupid bar.

    Who cares!!

  4. Avatar

    David Jackson

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Is that duel or dual pricing..I am very confused now!
    That’s why you need native Brits too!!

  5. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Everyone wants to raise their economy again and raise their prices because of the pandemic, but it’s not such a great idea to be racist against tourists. Thai has always been charging extra from foreigners, whether its national parks, wildlife and plant conversations, and in many more areas. Since no one can do such things without the assistance of administration, this racism and looting must be stopped by Thai, because Thai is a tourist place and this ultimately affects their image.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      National parks dual pricing.
      Easy way round that,
      In practice national parks have many entry and exit points,most are un gated and un maned.
      A quick check on Google maps should arm you with the appropriate intelligence.

      Go in via one of these entrances,enjoy the park and give the staff a big smile when you leave by the main entrance.

      If you have any feelings of guilt about this check the Thai price and prehaps make a charitable donation of the same amount to your preffered charity,or crack open a few changs and enjoy.

      Many years ago such tactics could be used at wat po and the grand palace if you did a recce on the perimeter walls but not so sure nowadays.

    • Avatar


      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Ya, let the free market determine who survives and who dies. In a true free market, the govt wouldn’t even exist. If they raise prices beyond your acceptable level, don’t go!

      What I am beginning to see, is there are enough thai people with more money than farangs. Jealous much. Sorry your western society is imploding under the weight of the free sh*t army and a beyond expensive military.

      Enjoy being a 2nd world farang where thai people(some) live better lives than you do.

      If you are faced with competition from every angle and your only options are to raise prices or close up… you’re best to raise prices first.

      What won’t change, is the fact we are entering a hyperinflationary collapse of the global monetary system. Everything will go up in price…. until people die of hunger

      Plan wisely.

      • Avatar


        Monday, November 9, 2020 at 11:09 pm

        Wow, such an absurd comment. What exactly is the “free sh*t army”? How does the military affect my paycheck? 2nd-world farang? What is wrong with you?

        • Avatar


          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 6:33 pm

          He’s lived in Thailand too long and has started to think he’s a Thai, which we all know he will never be accepted as such.

  6. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Disgraceful carry on. All is Ex-pats and tourists here should boycott these places. Obviously these greedy Monkeys want to squeeze every penny they can out of us. All about money. I think it’s time we review Our Laws back in our Countries about Thais over there !! Make them pay. And also March them down to The Local Police Stations for 90 day reporting. We bring them Prosperity But their Greed is overtaking them. Very simple Boycott their crap venues !!.

  7. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Simple answer . Just walk on by.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 2:55 pm


      Nobody’s forcing farangs or anyone else to go, and there are plenty of other bars around for those who don’t want to pay 500 baht to get in or don’t feel welcome.

      Plenty of night clubs everywhere (most?) choose who they want to allow in, and why shouldn’t they? If they don’t want foreigners or want them to pay extra, and it’s their bar and they’re prepared to lose foreign customers (and possibly gain some Thai ones instead) then why shouldn’t they?

      If “blogger Yan Marchal” thinks it’s such a bad thing, as he does everything else in Thailand, then why doesn’t he try doing something about changing the identical policy that’s common practice in his own country? How many nght clubs in Paris give everyone free and unrestricted entry?

      … and you asked “Also… who takes their passport to a nightclub?” IT’S THE LAW, that foreigners AND THAIS have to carry valid ID with them at all times. How can it be “really racist” when the law is applied equally to foreigners and Thais alike?

      Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it …..

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 12:25 pm

        Issan John, what are you talking about…again!!! There is NO night club in France that makes foreigns / tourists pay while it is free for french people. If it is free entry, it is free for everyone. Also everyone visiting Le Louvres, the Eiffel Tower, versailles etc.., foreigners, tourists and french people, are ALL paying the same price. Again, you are using an unfactual comparaison to put your point accross that is again another deni rather than a clear rational opinion. There is definitely an issue in Thailand with dual prices, end of story! And NO, not everyone can do what they want, as they wish, that is disrepectfull to others, otherwise it would be anarchy…

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:47 pm

          Unfortunately you seem incapable of reading what’s written … “again!!!”

          What I ACTUALLY said was “Plenty of night clubs everywhere (most?) choose who they want to allow in, and why shouldn’t they?”

          It’s got no connection at all with anything you’ve said!

        • Avatar

          Khun plastic

          Friday, November 13, 2020 at 7:11 pm

          There are plenty of Thais who are pissed off about dual pricing at attractions also.
          They consider it a total embarrassment to the whole nation.
          There are numerous name and shame Thai language Facebook groups on the subject.

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 3:39 pm

        “IT’S THE LAW, that foreigners AND THAIS have to carry valid ID with them at all times.”

        They why isn’t it illegal for hire shops to ask you to leave your passport with them when renting a motorbike?

        Or perhaps it is…

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:47 pm

          It is.

  8. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    I have seen foreigner targeted bars and clubs banning people of middle Eastern and afro Carribbean origin,there are also foreigner owned venues that openly ban Thai males.why does nobody ever complain about that?

    The venue obviously does not want foreign customers and are politely in a round the houses Thai way letting you know that.

    It is a private venue and they have every right to do that.You also have every right not to go in.

    Would imagine the target market group is hi so thais and perhaps they don’t want ke neow poorly dressed smelly foreigners in the venue grabbing at the local skirt in the mistaken belief all Thai totty is available to rent by the hour.

    that is there choice and is really no different to the door policys in UK clubs that will target a certain age/economic group they want inside.
    it is after all a club,right of admission is reserved.

    • Avatar

      Happy Tourist

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm

      Khun plastic, because these foreigners usually don’t pay respect to women, Sir. In middle east the women are treaten like slaves, khun platic khrub.

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 7:52 am

      Aro-Carribean?! Middle Eastern and Idian, yes.

  9. Avatar

    Happy Tourist

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Hello. So what is the masterplan now? For 15.000 THB I get a very big party at other bars in Bangkok ?

  10. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    It would be interesting if a large group of good looking and well dressed group of foreign women went there! Wonder what the ownership would do?! Free passes?

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      If it was London they would be ushered in and probably given a few free drink vouchers.

      This has been tested with hidden cameras several times in the UK and aired on main stream TV.

      The management of the club’s have been invited to comment after the set ups but not one has come forward to give there side of the story.

      The most you ever get is a vaugley worded letter from there lawyers.

      Not one of the lawyers has ever had the balls to be interviewed on TV about this either.

  11. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Yes this is unusual but it does happen.
    There is a club in Pattaya that used to only allow in the Japanese.
    This BarBarBar probably does not have many foreigners visiting anyway, so they think they will not miss much.
    However they are not very clever. Putting restrictions in the way of foreigners will have them shunned not only foreigners, but Thai families of foreigners, and girls that want to meet foreigners.
    A long time ago a pub barred my brother because he had long hair. I did not go in.
    My friends did not go in.
    My brother’s friends did not go in. Their friends’ friends did not go in.
    The pub was empty on Saturday night!
    This bar can have in who they want, but business wise it is not wise.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      A wise pub landlord once told me it is far more important who you do not have in the pub than who you do.

      I Agree,you ban one person you have just banned 10

      Not an easy businesses at the best of times.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      It may well be very “wise” and they’re being “very clever” if they don’t make much money from farangs and their Thai clientele prefer not to have farangs around, as many do – less so in Pattaya, but certainly the case in Bangkok. Once word gets around that “they don’t want ke neow poorly dressed smelly foreigners in the venue grabbing at the local skirt in the mistaken belief all Thai totty is available to rent by the hour”, their business may well increase considerably.

      Maybe worth noting that of the three reviews quoted, the first reviewer has written two reviews, one for this one for a burger, both one star, the second review was made a year ago, it’s the only one he’s made and he was thrown out for having a fight (with a “local”), and the third has made three reviews, for a tailor, a restaurant and the nightclub; all one star, all “I will never go there again”.

      I’ve never been there and I’ve got no interest in going, but they have a 4*+ rating and are clearly very popular with Thais and very good at what they do and at the end of the day it’s a business.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      Japanese only bars and clubs are pretty common in bangkok mostly aimed at corporate expense type client’s.You will be tolerated/entertained if you are in a party with a known Japanese client.

  12. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Do the door guys hassle the foreign entrants for a tip?

  13. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    “Also… who takes their passport to a nightclub?”

    Aren’t foreigners required, by law, to carry their passport at all times?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      As above:

      “… and you asked “Also… who takes their passport to a nightclub?” IT’S THE LAW, that foreigners AND THAIS have to carry valid ID with them at all times. How can it be “really racist” when the law is applied equally to foreigners and Thais alike?

      Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it …..”

      By law it doesn’t have to be a passport, but it has to be “valid ID”.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6:45 pm

        I’ve never met a single Thai I know take their passport out on a night on the piss!
        Thais have an IC and/or their driving license with them as I’m sure you are well aware.
        Losing your ic or license in your own country on a night out is not the same deal as a foreign national losing their passport.
        Most foreign embassies after much hassle will only issue a one way travel warrant for anybody who losses there passport in Thailand.
        A complete pain in the backside,I have seen it happen to a friend who works in japan.had to return to Osaka via Newport UK over this.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 1:51 pm

          ” IT’S THE LAW, that foreigners AND THAIS have to carry valid ID with them at all times.”

          For Thais, “valid ID” is an ID card. For foreigners it’s a passport or a Thai driving licence as it has the passport number on it.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      A good quality colour photocopy of your passport and visa is generally sufficient even for the boys in brown but not always.

      a not so small processing fee may be politely requested by the boys in brown on occasion at check points.

      Best in such circumstances to smile back and request to go to the local station to discuss the situation.

      That will either bring the fee right down or most probably you will be politely waved on your way.

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 8:04 am

      Selling lost and stolen passports from passed out and drunken Western tourists would be big business if people did.

      • Avatar

        James Pate

        Friday, November 13, 2020 at 6:29 pm

        Biometric passports has pretty much ended that.

  14. Avatar

    Richard Renwick

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    There are thousands of bars and clubs in Bangkok. Go to another one, problem solved. They will soon change with no farang customers who spend all the money.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Not if you read the reviews. The idea that it’s “farang customers who spend all the money” may be true for bars in Pattaya, but it’s about twenty years out of date in Bangkok bars catering to a younger EDM crowd.

  15. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    There is a very easy solution for this problem. Simply avoid making business with Thais as much as you can. There are many options available.

  16. Avatar

    Daniel Verex

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    I travel extensively and would never take a passport out with me on a night out. The hassle involved if it goes missing is enormous, especially mid trip. It always stays locked in my hotel room safe.

    Never had any issue with a copy of my UK passport & my UK driving license. Generally it’s your attitude that counts more when asked to present a document.

  17. Avatar


    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Just ignore such clubs and go to clubs that are opened by foreigners. True, we must admit that all normal foreigners have long left here and live in Vietnam, Portugal, or Spain. The land of fake smiles no longer needs your money.

    • Avatar


      Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      “All normal foreigners live in Vietnam” a country which similarly discriminates against foreigners, interrogating them in the middle of the night for venturing too close to an international border. Sure… keep believing that foreigners are all living in Vietnam. Thailand is starting to suck in many ways but you’re not going to be better off as a westerner living in an even more crowded, more homogenous country like Vietnam. If you don’t like Asia you go home. Keep dreaming dude..

  18. Avatar

    joseph c Schmehl

    Monday, November 9, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    If a bar doe not want your money just be nice and go to another club or bar. It is there loss. Others want to make money and new friends. Just go to one of the others.

  19. Avatar

    7.62mm of darwin

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5:15 am

    Why the fuss. You are only the money and if they dont want it go elsewhere, and dont worry or bother even though you are paying in the SAME currency as the Thais ‘if they see that the money is farang contaminated your really dont want to enter anyhow.

  20. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5:42 am

    One of the more peculiar takes I’ve come across with this old chestnut is a bar that lets all people in earlier in the week when biz is slower,but not later in the week or weekend unless you are a fashion model type/billionaire etc!
    Madams view is along the lines of if you don’t want our money one night we certainly won’t give it to you on another one!my view is along the lines of they can foxtrot Oscar!
    Pretty sure it’s run by an american surprisingly!

  21. Avatar

    Tan tan

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 8:12 am

    Many places still welcome foreigners actually. Been to a club and restaurant in Don Mueang area. Being treated really well. They even ask their English speaking manager to attended to us. Many other bars and clubs welcomed us too. So not sure why the negativity about dual pricing and different treatment about foreigner. It’s just this place.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 12:07 am

      I agree,most places do not, that’s why this place has been identified.
      Pre haps the thaiger could run a regular colum to identify more such venues that have open discrimination policies for the benefit of both the venue and potential customers who may be offended by such treatment.

  22. Avatar


    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 8:15 am

    Special Booth, Special price, Special drink, Special discount, Special tourist, Special visa, Special flight, Special ticket, Special quarantine, Special food, Special lady, Special smile, Special treatment, Special deal, and soon there will be a Special Vaccine, buy one get one free, everything is special, Welcome to the land of crap

  23. Avatar

    S.R. Leif

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 8:42 am

    The same miserable, incoherent idiots that infest the Bangkok Post and Thaivisa comments sections have now found a new home …

  24. Avatar

    marlin man

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    I wrote the last review that’s in this article. Yeah it wasn’t cool charging me 500 bht, but that wasn’t why I didn’t go in. It was the really horrible attitude from the foreigners counter, same guy in the picture. I showed my Thai drivers license and they said foreigners need to go to the counter. My GF and her two friends talked to the guy and they said, never mind we’re not going here this guy is totally rued. I was standing in the background and heard only part of the conversation, but you don’t need to be a genius to know when someone doesn’t want you there. I didn’t worry about it, I just went to the next bar and enjoyed my night.

    In ten years of living in Bangkok this isn’t the first bar that has charged me for entry. It is however the first bar that has ever made me, and the people I was with (all Thai), feel like I was not welcome there.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      Because you WEREN’T welcome there! It’s a nightclub – C-L-U-B!!

      … and in your “ten years of living in Bangkok” you’ve posted three reviews, all one star, all “I will never go there again”!

      They get plenty of excellent reviews, and they very clearly target Thais, very successfully – maybe keeping certain people out is the reason why.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        Friday, November 13, 2020 at 1:51 am

        People tend to remember bad experiences very well and it is far from uncommon for them to only leave bad ones for that sole reason.

  25. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Dream on, what a big joke or

  26. Avatar

    Jerrod Valles

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Enjoy Thailand for what it is and go back home!

  27. Avatar


    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:06 pm


  28. Avatar

    DnB Head

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 7:44 am

    I guesse, I was lucky to have wondered into this place “BarBarBar” one night in April 2019. I was NOT charged or checked ID (at that time anyway). A quick review of the bar was the typical tall tables scattered on the dancefloor in any Thai club. But I got to say that the sound system was on point, crisp, slamming, pulsing subwoofers, unlike just about every other club in Thailand. Anyway, having read this article, I am also put off by the foreigner pricing and disgusted my the recent management scheme. I probably will not go back there once I can get back to Thailand

  29. Avatar


    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Land of Smiles LOS is not a claim Thailand can make any more. A nasty, unjustified racism has started to grow and ordinary Thais are the ones who will suffer. Its really stupid when you understand 20% of Thailand GDP is from international visitors. If Thailand continues to treat visitors badly, they will stop comming and for a poor country like Thailand, people will be hurt. Only places like Cambodia & Vietnam will benefit.

  30. Avatar

    Jim Loughran

    Monday, November 23, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    Same as China in 80s and 90s, foreigners were screwed for double pricing in hotels and bars. It drove me nuts every time. This was official government policy at the time and they normally had the signs up to back up their prices.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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