Nightclubs hail end of Covid restrictions

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Khao San Road, a popular spot for tourists in Bangkok, is slowly resuming operations after coming to a halt due to the pandemic. The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration is considering allowing nighttime entertainment to resume business operations. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Nightlife entertainment operators have welcomed the news that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is considering allowing them to resume business operations.

According to a source at Government House, an unlocking of nightlife venues could be listed for a CCSA operations center meeting today, before the matter is taken to the CCSA meeting tomorrow.

Wirawit Kruasombat, chairman of the Patong Entertainment Business Owners Club in Phuket, responded to the announcement of the change yesterday by thanking the government.

“I am grateful that the government understands the difficult situation night trade operators have had to face,” Mr Wirawit said, adding that he also wanted to see measures to help businesses.

Mr. Wirawit said nightlife venues play an important role in tourism. So when the government looks to ease Covid measures to welcome tourists, outlets such as pubs, bars and karaoke rooms should be able to resume operations.

Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Business Association, said commercial operators on Khao San Road have urged the government to extend opening hours and allow restaurants to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. or 1 a.m., depending on commercial areas in accordance with the pre-Covid period.

“Regarding the current Covid-19 situation, it is time for us to resume our normal lives and let people decide for themselves. There is no need for restrictions on the sale of alcohol until at 11 p.m. because people are always having fun and relaxing,” he said.

Khao San typically hosts 1,000-2,000 revelers on weekdays and 5,000-6,000 people on Friday and Saturday nights.

He said those numbers would double if opening hours extended to midnight or 1 a.m.

Vorapoj Nimvijit of the Professional Entertainment Network Confederation of Thailand urged the government to allow people working in nighttime entertainment businesses such as singers and performers to return to work when Covid-19 is declared endemic , from July 1st.

Since most people have been vaccinated, the government should allow entertainment events such as concerts to run at full capacity, Mr Vorapoj said.

Face masks and regular hand washing would still be required, he said.

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