Bangkok nightlife venues frustrated with June 1 re-opening rules

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The owners of bars, clubs, and other nightlife venues in Bangkok have expressed frustration with conditions governing the June 1 re-opening. From Wednesday, such businesses can re-open, provided they are located in the 31 blue or green zones, adhere to disease prevention measures, and close by midnight.

It’s the midnight closure that most are finding frustrating, with several business owners describing the re-opening as pointless as long as this stipulation is in force. According to a Bangkok Post report, Thanupong Paensodsaicharoenkij, from one nightlife venue on Khao San Road, says while he’s glad he can re-open for business, the latest easing of restrictions is only a half-measure. He points out that the government’s rigid clinging to Covid restrictions, including requiring overseas arrivals to take out expensive insurance coverage, is driving foreign tourists to neighbouring countries.

“It has been more than 2 years since the outbreak and we here in Khao San are up to our ears in debt. Yet when the outbreak is easing the government gets nervous.”

The president of the Khao San Road Business Association agrees, saying Wednesday’s re-opening will make little difference to nightlife venues in the capital. Sanga Ruangwattanakul says that in order to give businesses a chance to recover, opening hours need to be extended past midnight. He points out that if venues can remain open until 2am from September, this would generate an extra 300 – 400 billion baht for the economy.

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“Currently we are already open and serve alcohol until midnight, so the latest measure doesn’t help much. Why don’t the government go beyond that? The ban on alcohol sales from 2pm to 5pm isn’t helpful either.”

Sanga is also calling for the emergency decree to be revoked and for the government to get rid of the communicable disease control law, both of which he says are proving a deterrent to foreign tourists.

“The outbreak is easing and most people are fully vaccinated. Japan has already relaxed outdoor face-mask rules. But the government is afraid of this and that. We will be left behind.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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