Bid to Extend Legal Alcohol Sales Time Rejected Again By Thai Government Panel

National —

A Thai government committee has dropped, for the second time, a proposal to extend the afternoon alcohol sale time in response to activists’ pleas. However, the Public Health Minister has not completely dismissed possibly changing the sales times in the future.

On February 19th, 2024, representatives from various anti-alcohol groups gathered at the Ministry of Public Health in protest of the proposed sales extension that is being discussed by the Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee of Thailand.

Specifically, the proposal is to lift the afternoon alcohol sales ban of 2-5, as we discussed here.

The committee is led by Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin. Mr. Somsak arrived at the ministry to receive a letter from the protestors and assured them that the committee would not extend alcohol sales hours, citing the need for further analysis and consideration.

Mr. Somsak also expressed support for establishing a dedicated fund, titled “The Fund for the Rehabilitation and Care of those affected by alcoholic beverages,” to assist individuals negatively impacted by alcohol consumption.

Meanwhile, supporters of lifting the long-standing ban, including the tourism and hospitality industry, have continued to press for at least a trial in certain areas, almost certainly meant to be tourism hotspots like Pattaya and Phuket.

In response to this, the Minister of Public Health has said the proposal is not entirely out the window but needs more time to research potential ramifications of lifting the ban which may take about three months, but would be well after the goal of lifting it by Songkran aimed for by the tourism industry.

The tourism industry wants the ban lifted to end confusion from tourists trying to purchase alcohol in shops, restaurants, and hotels during sales times. The law is adhered to fairly strictly by large chains and big stores, but often ignored by smaller venues, like mom and pops and small bars, especially in tourism areas.

Opponents of lifting the ban claim it will cause more car accidents and deaths in the afternoons as their primary reason of opposing the lifting of the ban, although supporters argue that a three hour ban doesn’t really make any difference and someone can simply purchase a whole bottle of liquor at 1:59 and be just as drunk as purchasing during the three hour window.

We discuss our take on the archaic law here.

The original version of this article appeared on our sister website, The Pattaya News, owned by our parent company TPN media.


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Tanakorn Panyadee
The Latest Local News Translator at The Pattaya News. Aim is a twenty-two year old who currently lives and studies in his last year of college in Bangkok. Interested in English translation, story-telling, and entrepreneurship, he believes that hard-working is an indispensable component of every success in this world.