Bars and nightclubs can reopen on January 16… but as restaurants

After being closed for nine months, bars, karaoke venues, and nightclubs will be able to open temporarily as “restaurants” starting on January 16. And most won’t be allowed to serve booze (legally).

As a New Year’s gift, the Thai government gave restaurants and approved venues across the country a free pass to serve booze the night of December 31 until 1am on January 1. But that was just for the night.

With an uptick in Covid-19 cases after the holiday, restrictions are tightening. Starting January 9, all but eight provinces will be classified as “orange” zones with a ban on alcohol sales at restaurants. Only restaurants in “blue” zones with pilot tourism programmes, and that have been approved, are allowed to serve alcoholic drinks, and just until 9pm each night.

Today, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration approved the reopening of bars, karaoke venues, and nightclubs under the premise that they would operate as restaurants. At the English-language press briefing, the deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the venues are required to “strictly exercise Covid Free Setting measures” and need to be approved by the provincial authorities by January 15.

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Caitlin Ashworth

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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