Pattaya, as one of the tourist-oriented provinces cleared for a full return of exotic night life from June 1, is girding her loins for a louder ringing of cash registers.
However, the detail in the latest government regulations conceals several devils which will be meaningful, or otherwise, depending on enforcement procedures. Disappointingly, midnight remains the closing time for the sale or consumption of alcohol.
Each new nightspot must register with the Department of Provincial Administration for Thai Stop Covid2Plus approval which in turn requires a Covid-free environment with social distancing and proper ventilation, regular screening of staff using ATKs and proof of vaccination by customers on entry.
There is no requirement for “restaurants”, already open, to re-register as they are already subject to similar theoretical checks under previous rules authorized by the provincial governor.
Pattaya’s Walking Street representatives say that the early closing time is totally unsatisfactory and that the anti-Covid rules are impractical. However, it remains to be seen how the police and the civilian licensing authorities interpret them.
For example, the health checks may be on a self-assessment basis by the venue itself rather than by external inspection. Many nightery operators say that the police in the past have limited their attention to official closing time rather than exhaustive health checks on staff and clientele.
“I’ll be surprised if it’s any different this time,” says Khun Arnot who mans the entrance barrier on Walking Street which is currently closed to all vehicles for a road improvement program.
credit Barry Kenyon