No late nights for Phuket City bars

PHUKET CITY: The Phuket Governor has refused a request by several bar owners on Yaowarat Road to be allowed to stay open until 2am, saying he lacks the authority to overrule Ministry of Interior regulations.

In recent years a number of small bars and restaurants have opened up on the stretch of the road close to the intersection with Dibuk Road in Old Phuket Town.

The request for extended opening hours follows complaints by residents of the area, who say they are being kept awake at night by loud talking, slamming doors and other noise that goes on well past midnight.

Residents also complained that customers were parking in front of their houses. Even worse, some revelers urinate and even vomit in the road, the residents claim.

Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop visited the area on December 16 to see the problems for himself.

Although the establishments are primarily drinking venues, they are registered as restaurants and are legally required to shut by 12am.

Gov Wichai told bar owners they had to close by midnight, as dictated by the regulations.

He told them they had to be more considerate of the residents of the area.

“I understand you’re just trying to make a living through these businesses, but please understand that old people need their sleep,” he told one bar owner.

The next day, several bar owners visited the governor at Provincial Hall to formally request permission to stay open until 2am.

“I don’t have the power to give you permission to open later than that,” Gov Wichai said. “This is the law. It’s a policy of the ministry. It doesn’t depend on me.”

One bar owner told the Gazette he had plans to fix the parking and litter problems.

“We can pay to have the area cleaned up. And we’ll put signs up to show customers they can’t park in front of people’s houses. We’ll take serious action,” he said.

Nevertheless the owner admitted some of the problems, such as customers peeing and vomiting on the streets, were beyond the control of nightclub operators.

“Right now this area is very famous and busy almost every night. It’s well known by tourists as the place to go for nightlife in Phuket Town. It’s good marketing for Phuket,” the bar owner said.

— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat

Phuket News
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