Major Thai police leader to discuss closing times in Pattaya, Phuket and elsewhere

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Thailand’s most famous policeman, ‘Big Joke’, aka. Surachate Hakparn, has plans to discuss legal closing times for ‘restaurants’ in Pattaya, Phuket and other renowned tourist hotspots where the closing time issue continues to be a hot topic. Bars and clubs in Thailand, under official laws, are still only allowed to reopen as ‘restaurants’, and only until midnight at the moment.

At a Phuket press conference on Friday, the Assistant of the National Police Chief Lieutenant General Surachate Hakparn, told The Phuket Express that police are going to discuss the closing times with the CCSA and relevant officials in Phuket, and elsewhere. Surachate stressed that he sympathised with how business operators are struggling to earn money under the country’s current restrictions, which only just made the closing time midnight, instead of 11pm, on May 1.

Officially, bars and nightlife are meant to be closed at the moment, and only through a loophole allowing them to register as ‘restaurants’ are they able to open at this time. But the bar and business owners say “it’s time” to get things back to normal and allow them to reopen without all the paperwork and unnecessary restrictions still imposed.

Surachate says he understood that Pattaya in particular is pushing to extend the closing time, as well as fully reopening its nightlife (this would mean bars and clubs can open ‘officially’ and not as ‘restaurants’). He gave a cautious response to reporters, saying…

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“However, this depends on the province and the disease control committee, and the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, CCSA. I understand how business operators and entertainment venue operators feel. EVERYONE IS suffering!”

Officials in Pattaya also held a meeting about closing times last week after the city’s famous Walking Street closed to cars at certain hours for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, allowing the street to open to ‘walking’ customers again. This, along with Thailand’s entry restrictions being eased since May 1, is expected to bring more tourists back to Thailand. Representatives from the local bars asked to make the closing time 3am, instead of the current midnight.

Pattaya has suffered tremendously under the tight alcohol curfews, with over-zealous crackdowns by police over “violating Covid-19 curfew rules”. Just a day before the curfew extended to midnight, Pattaya police raided 2 ‘restaurants’ last night at around 11:30pm for allegedly serving alcohol past 11pm.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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