Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is planning to officially propose the reopening of entertainment venues, such as bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges, etc. for foreign tourists in most areas in so-called “Blue Zones”(Business, Leisure, Ultimate Experience) destinations, except Bangkok, at the next CCSA (Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration) general meeting next week.
The Minister stated during an interview on the “Inside Thailand” television program today, October 22nd, that he was planning to introduce to the CCSA general meeting an official reopening of pubs, bars, nightclubs, and similar entertainment venues for incoming tourists in line with the country reopening in November. However, the proposal would only be for certain Blue zones (Including Pattaya) that rely heavily on entertainment venues for tourism.
He said that he was going to mention the reopening in some blue-zone destinations, such as Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga, primarily the zones where entertainment venues was a significant part of the tourism economy, especially Pattaya and Phuket. When being asked if Bangkok would be included, Phiphat stated that the capital would probably take a while as it was more difficult to control and there were more concerns, especially around Thai-oriented venues and not so much tourism-related establishments.
The Minister stated: “I will mention and discuss the matter during the CCSA meeting next week. The reopening might be initially only for foreign tourists to attract them to visit the country. Much of the concern from the CCSA about entertainment venues has nothing to do with tourism-related establishments but rather large Thai discos and places. But we still have to discuss if it would work or not. The entertainment venues might be able to open until 1:00 AM. or 2:00 AM. according to the opening hours in the past. Currently, all entertainment venues of all types, sizes, shapes, inside or outside, etc. are closed. There is a lot of room to work with here and develop working policies and procedures.”
“I will not mention Bangkok at the CCSA meeting because it is more difficult when it comes to crowd control in each establishment. For other provinces, they should have tourist zones to make it easier to control.”
Phiphat further stated that dining in and serving wine in hotels of all 17 blue-zone areas/provinces will “nearly certainly” be officially allowed on November 1st. But the provincial authorities must issue an official announcement prior to the reopening to create a mutual understanding of which areas in each province are allowed or not. Phiphat noted that if governors chose not to reopen entertainment venues or allow alcohol, even if it was allowed by the CCSA, that would be at their discretion.
Entertainment venues have been closed nationwide since April, almost seven months, notes TPN media. Phuket, Samui, and Khao Lak have allowed alcohol at restaurants, but legally, bars, pubs, and nightlife remain closed. Koh Tao has also proposed allowing alcohol at restaurants, primarily for tourists. The CCSA has stated they will “consider” the reopening of the venues by December 1st, but have given no promises, as they continue to claim these establishments are the biggest spreaders of Covid-19.
TPN media notes that the Tourism Minister’s proposal is not a guarantee that these venues will be allowed to open.
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