Seemingly unfazed by an apparent complete lack of any punishment the first 4 times, a Pattaya restaurant has been raided a fifth time for violating Covid-19 restrictions. The restaurant, Sky Mountain, has been busted 4 times previously for operating as a bar, selling alcohol and opening without proper permitting, but has faced little repercussions for their disregard for the regulations that have kept law-abiding businesses from operating fully.
The Pattaya City Police returned yet again to the restaurant by Bali Hai Pier where 4 previous busts occurred, one that infamously had patrons fleeing into the woods and into Pattaya Bay to escape possible prosecution. This time, similar to previous raids, customers were found drinking and enjoying live music, with a lack of social distancing and mask-wearing.
After the last raid, the police said that the lack of punishment was because legal proceedings are pending and in process. They did order the restaurant to close for about 2 weeks until the end of November, but they have since reopened.
Police said that the Sky Mountain restaurant is currently lacking the requirements to be legally allowed to sell alcohol now. Restaurants need the SHA+ certification, meet the Covid-Free Setting guidelines, have a Thai Stop Covid Plus certification, plus follow social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures. The restaurant manager faces charges of operating the restaurant illegally and selling alcohol illegally, clearly the threat of legal action does not outweigh the profit of remaining open through 5 police raids.
Customers did not face any legal consequences of drinking illegally at the bar this time, in what seems to be a trend. In illegal bar and party busts earlier in the year, both businesses and patrons were hauled off to police stations to face punishment, but in recent busts across Thailand, the focus seems to be almost exclusively on the management and owners of the illegally operating venues.
Pattaya Police have said that they will once again take a close look at the restaurant and its legal status, as well as go over the situation with city and provincial authorities.
SOURCE: The Pattaya News