Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang has turned down the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association’s proposal to extend the legitimate drinking hours at SHA+ restaurants from 9:00 PM. to 11:00 PM. upon the country reopening.
The governor revealed to the press today, November 1st, that it is impossible, according to him, to extend the hours for now and the process must be done gradually and carefully until the situation is resolved and Public Health Officials can gauge the results of each easing of restrictions.
He said: “We will look at the overall assessment in terms of the alcohol and entertainment industry every 2 weeks. If the drinking hours affect the infection situation in some way, we have to come up with a new plan. But if there is no rise in infections and business owners and customers cooperate a re-evaluation of the hours may be considered as needed to 1 hour, 2 hours, or possibly 3 hours.”
When being asked what to do if alcoholic beverages were ordered and not finished by 9:00 PM., the governor stated that customers could either “1. drink it up or 2. pour it out.”
Today marked the first day of the return of alcohol sales for dining-in in (SHA+) restaurants. Local media have surveyed the situation in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bangkok, Khaosan Road. However, the overall atmosphere is still quiet with only a few foreign tourists.
Chitchai Saenwong, the supervisor of The One restaurant in the Khaosan area, revealed that the restaurant has complied with the government’s measures to prevent disease infections and has been SHA+ approved to sell alcohol in November.
When asked for opinions towards the drinking hours of no later than 9:00 PM. in Bangkok, he said that the limited hours could affect customers’ decisions of dining in and ordering drinks, so the hours should be at least at 11:00 PM.
The entrepreneur told reporters: “Normally, customers would arrive at the restaurant around 8:00 PM., so limiting the drinks to 9:00 PM. is not so effective. But it might possibly be better if the time was extended to 11:00 PM. so that customers could enjoy the evening and nightlife atmosphere of Khaosan.”
The Bangkok Governor has also stated today that bars, entertainment venues, and nightlife will remain closed for further evaluation as to Covid-19 risk, despite widespread criticism from business owners. He has also rejected suggestions to allow all restaurants to sell alcohol and not just SHA-certified ones.
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