CCSA sticks with plan to reopen bars on January 16

FILE PHOTO: Entertainment venues aren't coming back before January 16, and not the same as before.

This article was revised on Monday, November 29.

Despite hopes from millions of tourists around the world and millions of bar, club, and nightlife staff and owners throughout Thailand, the CCSA is sticking with plans to allow the bars to reopen on January 16. The CCSA had a meeting yesterday that revisited and revised several rules for entering Thailand and Covid-19 safety regulations. Although a CCSA spokesperson said some bars might be allowed to reopen earlier if they cooperate with disease control measures.

While the meeting did make some progressive decisions to lighten the restrictions for Covid-19, they chose not to move up the date they had set for reopening nightlife around the country sooner than January 16, though they did outline some details on what to expect when venues do reopen.

Currently, all entertainment venues are closed and alcohol sales and consumption of alcohol prohibited since April, though drinks can be served in restaurants in 4 key tourist provinces. Many restaurants have been acting as de facto bars and venues have been opening illegally.

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The CCSA feels that entertainment venues – which are considered the source of the third deadly wave of Covid-19 spread – are still too big a risk of transmission to be opened. Between the closed quarters with poor ventilation, and the tendency of drunk patrons to skip masks and social distancing and be far less vigilant in following safety protocols, the CCSA believes it’s unsafe to open.

Though they aren’t going to be allowed to reopen any earlier, the CCSA spokesperson said the government is instructing entertainment venues to upgrade their safety conditions and ventilation systems in preparation for reopening in January. All staff should be fully vaccinated and the spokesman said the entertainment venues will be inspected for a reopening license.

When they are finally allowed to reopen, patrons shouldn’t expect the same wild club scene that existed before Covid-19. The CCSA says dancefloors will not be permitted in venues, as well as drink sharing amongst customers. Karaoke will also not be allowed. Clubs will be allowed to open until midnight with the last call for alcohol at 11 pm.

These rules will be applied to entertainment venues and nightlife spots reopening January 16 only in tourist sandbox blue zones, safe green zones, and high surveillance yellow zones.


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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.

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