Thailand health minister announces booze measures for Songkran

Photo courtesy of The Pattaya News

Thai Minister of Public Health Cholnan Srikaew recently addressed the public following a meeting with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee. The meeting centred around the development of guidelines for alcohol control during the World Songkran Festival, with a key focus on preventing road accidents related to drunk driving.

The Department of Disease Control and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Network in Thailand had put forward a campaign named No Drinking While Driving. This initiative is part of a broader National Alcohol Control scheme aimed at reducing the incidents of DUIs during the popular Songkran Festival.

The National Alcohol Control scheme is to be implemented in three stages; before, during, and after the Songkran holidays. The first phase will run from April 1 to April 10, the second phase from April 11 to April 17, and the final phase from April 18 to April 21.

Under the directives of the Thai government, the Provincial Alcoholic Beverage Control Committees, in conjunction with related agencies, will promote the campaign. The campaign will designate certain areas in each province as alcohol-free zones, where the Songkran festival can be celebrated without the use of alcoholic beverages.

In these designated areas, alcohol laws will be rigorously enforced, including:

  1. The prohibition of selling alcohol to minors under 20 years old.
  2. Banning alcohol promotion.
  3. Strict adherence to legal hours of selling alcoholic beverages (11am to 2pm and 5 pm to midnight).
  4. Prohibition of alcohol sales and consumption outside legally designated locations.
  5. In any accident scene, alcohol tests will be conducted for all drivers involved. Suppose a minor under 20 years old is found to have a blood alcohol level above 20 milligrammes per decilitre. In that case, the police will launch a further investigation and legal action will be taken against the alcohol sellers.
  6. Police checkpoints will also be established to prevent drunk driving.
  7. Those on probation for DUIs will be immediately referred, with their consent, to a rehabilitation process under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health.

However, Cholnan noted that the entertainment venues in the pilot provinces, which are permitted to operate until 4am, must follow the rules laid out by the Ministry of Interior. Other areas not given the extension in entertainment service hours must adhere to the standard closing times as per the law, reported The Pattaya News.

In addition, a working group will be set up by the committees to explore the possibility of extending alcohol sales hours in restaurants. After three months, the group’s findings will be presented, taking into account the potential impact on Thai tourism and the economy. This was the final note on which Cholnan ended his address.

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Top is a multifaceted news writer with a keen interest in real estate and travel. Top currently covers local Thai news at Thaiger. As a travel buff, Top blogs about his travels- around the world and Thailand- during his free time.

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