Thai Restaurant operators are asking the Thai government to unlock alcohol sale hours and end periods of sales being restricted, especially from 2PM to 5PM in the afternoons.
The President of the Restaurant Operators Association of Thailand Mr. Sorathep Rojpojjanaras (Steep) told Thai Media, “Entertainment venues legal closing hours have been extended to 4:00 A.M. Restaurant operators want the government to consider legal alcohol sale hours too, especially in the afternoons.”
“We have sent a letter to the Prime Minister formally requesting to unlock alcohol sale hours during 2:00P.M. to 5:00P.M. in order to boost food and beverage businesses. We need this as a New Year gift from the Thai government,” Mr. Sorathep explained.
“To relieve sales obstacles from restaurant businesses, the alcohol sale ban hours from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. should be canceled. This ban has continued for more than 50 years. The ban hours have caused problems with foreign tourists and many of them do not understand why there is a ban and then argue with business owners,” Sorathep added.
“Thailand is a tourism driven country. This alcohol sale hours ban is not international law. Thailand’s economy and tourism business have not completely been restored when compared with before the Covid-19 pandemic,”Mr. Sorathep noted.
Sorathep and other business owners have also pointed out that nobody in the current government can adequately explain the reason for the afternoon ban, only with rumors that the over fifty year old archaic law was originally enacted by the Prime Minister at the time to allegedly prohibit Thaj government employees from leaving work early to go drinking.
Another reason for the law being in effect given by Thai politicians were to prohibit alcohol sales as schools let out to prohibit drunk driving but critics have continually pointed out that a drunk driver could get heavily intoxicated from 11AM to 2PM and then drive as schools are releasing anyways, making the law nonsensical.
The Thai Parliament has also been discussing changing alcohol sales hours but the restaurant and tourism industry have said these discussions have been ongoing for years and that the Thai Prime Minister and Cabinet have the power to speed the process up and invalidate the old laws without having to debate new ones.
There has also been discussion around allowing morning alcohol sales at convenience stores and grocery stores, notes TPN Media. One restriction not currently being pushed for, however, is lifting bans on alcohol sales during Buddhist religious holidays, as this is seen as a sensitive issue to many conservative and religious people across Thailand, despite being suggested by some very liberal members of the government in the past.