Operators of night entertainment venues in Pattaya that have reclassified themselves as restaurants in a bid to remain in operation during the pandemic have urged the government to extend periods of dine-in service with alcoholic beverages beyond 11pm.
As pubs, bars, and karaoke parlours still cannot open, some venues in Pattaya have transformed into restaurants to skirt the ban by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration yet many owners have delayed reopening as they consider the 11pm closing too early to be profitable, said Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, secretary of the Pattaya association of entertainment venue operators.
He said tourists from Europe, the United States, Russia and other countries are starting to arrive back in Pattaya, and night entertainment venues in the central walking street should be ready to reopen as restaurants to welcome them back.
However, venues that cater mainly to Chinese tourists may have a longer wait ahead of them.
Mr Damrongkiat said tourists from South Korea are also returning as they don’t need to quarantine.
Business operators must hold talks immediately to devise measures to woo more tourists back as some neighbouring countries vying for foreign tourists have also waived their quarantine requirements, he said.
Mr Damrongkiat said he hoped the tourism sector would rebound quickly and tourism-related businesses would be in a position to resume operations from April.
The situation should improve further if the operating hours for night entertainment venues are extended to 1am as before, he noted.
He also cautioned that the daily reports on the rising number of new Covid-19 infections issued by the Public Health Ministry may dissuade foreign tourists from visiting the kingdom.
Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health, said previously the daily updates could end soon as health authorities are changing the focus of their briefings to the emergence of new clusters of what is thought will soon be classified an endemic disease.
The ministry will now report only new infections in provinces with serious outbreaks for the sake of containment and efficiency, he said.
However, critics have voiced concern over the matter, saying members of the public have the right to be kept abreast of the situation without having to seek the information themselves online.