Sobering reminder: Entertainment venues to open until 4am, but no alcohol sale to drunks

Photo by Hanny Naibaho via Unsplash

The Thailand Health Minister yesterday stressed that entertainment venues must not serve alcohol to customers who are already drunk, even if establishments are allowed to stay open until 4am. Partygoers have been advised to carry breathalysers.

Public Health Minister Cholnan Sikaew said that the policy allowing nightclubs to stay open until 4am had not yet been implemented. Cholnan made known that the policy would not be implemented at entertainment venues nationwide, only in certain areas designated by the government.

Cholnan said that he was not against the idea but that other measures needed to be taken to ensure that the extended closing time would not affect the health of residents.

Cholnan explained that the Ministry of Health was planning to propose several measures related to the extended closing time. For example, partygoers will have to undergo alcohol tests before leaving, entertainment venues will have to prepare public transport for drunks, and venues will not be allowed to sell alcohol to customers who are already drunk.

Cholanarn stressed that not selling alcohol to drunks was not new. There is a law that mentions it. The law in question is Section 40 of the Alcohol Control Act: selling alcohol to an intoxicated person is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or both. However, this law has not been seriously applied.

Cholnan said every entertainment venue must have alcohol breathalysers for its customers, and every partygoer would be encouraged to carry their breathalyser. The Ministry of Health would seek easy-to-use breathalysers to be made available to venues and the public.

Two beers

Under the current law, people with a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrams per cent (two beers) are considered drunk. Cholanan felt that the measures needed to be stricter. Any driver should not be allowed to drive, no matter how much alcohol they have consumed.

The president of the Craft Beer Association of Thailand, Archirawat Wannasisawat, told Than Settakij in an interview that he did not see how the extended closing time would help boost businesses and the economy because of the limited time for alcohol sales.

Business owners can only sell alcohol between 11am and 2pm and 5pm and 12am, even if their premises were open until 4am.

Archirawat added that the policy would only be implemented in tourist areas, which would not make much difference and would cause confusion, especially for foreigners.

Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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