A spokesperson for the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, spoke this afternoon about a request from entertainment industry business owners and staff, as well as musicians, on reopening their industry or providing them financial aid.
Dr. Apisamai Srirangsan, the assistant spokesperson for the CCSA, spoke about the request this afternoon. This also followed a separate request from Pattaya-specific beer bar and entertainment owners which we also covered. You can read about that request by clicking here.
Entertainment and nightlife venues, which include all bars, nightclubs, gogos, pubs, karaoke venues, sports bars, and similar establishments are closed under national orders currently in every province in Thailand, regardless of the number of Covid-19 cases. They have been closed for about two-and-a-half months as of today with little to no financial aid and no sign of the closure ending any time soon. As a whole, the industry has been closed almost eight months out of the past sixteen now in Thailand.
Pressure has been rising from the industry to allow them to either re-open with strict rules or provide them solid financial support, with many warning that if they are kept closed until the country will “supposedly” reopen to foreign tourists in near-total in October that the already devastated industry will be further devastated and there won’t be much left for tourists. For foreign tourists, the entertainment industry is a highlight for many of their holiday trips according to industry reps.
Indeed, there has already been a major backlash on social media to an earlier announcement that Phuket would not allow the opening of entertainment venues at the start of their “Sandbox” program to let in vaccinated tourists. Click here to read more about that.
Dr. Apisamai stated that the CCSA understands the pain of owners of these businesses and certainly understands their importance for the tourism industry. She stated that the CCSA is open to discussion with prominent entertainment venue owners and industry representatives upon ways to safely open the industry, or even parts of the industry, with rules and regulations.
However, Dr. Apisamai also stated that alcohol tended to lower people’s inhibitions and people who were intoxicated tended to not follow Covid-19 related rules, as evidenced by earlier openings of the industry. She advised industry professionals to consider this when suggesting rules and requirements to allow venues to open. She also stated that entertainment and bar owners would need to be fully behind any requirements or rules proposed.
She did not promise any sort of opening but did say that all proposals would be considered. This also comes as the powerful alcohol industry also has put pressure on the Thai government to find a way to allow at least smaller bars and venues to reopen safely. TPN media notes that this week’s zone adjustments allow restaurants in yellow provinces to, in theory, sell alcohol. However, the final decision is, as always, reliant on provincial governor decisions.