Big Joke to discuss with relevant officials about legally reopening nightlife industry, extending business hours in Phuket, Pattaya, and other tourism zones

Phuket-

Big Joke, Assistant of the National Police Chief is going to officially discuss with Phuket officials and the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, about legally extending restaurants closing time and drinking hours.

Local press in Phuket asked the Assistant of the National Police Chief Lieutenant General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn after a press conference Friday (May 6th) about an ongoing debate about the bar and entertainment industry and legal opening times. This debate has been heated in tourism zones, which want their economy-driving nightlife industry legally reopened and hours extended from the current midnight closing time for alcohol serving venues.

Surachate was asked for his opinion in regards to Thailand having opened for international tourists after May 1st with the dropping of the unpopular Test and go program but restaurant’s closing times and drinking hours are still limited under the national Covid-19 measurements order. Tourists are unable to fully enjoy their time in tourism areas, according to local business owners who claim that midnight is too early a cutoff for nightlife in tourist zones.

Technically, bars and nightlife venues are still legally closed nationwide as part of Covid-19 rules in place since April 10th, 2021, operating only as converted “restaurants”.

Lieutenant General Surachate told The Phuket Express, “We are thinking about this. We are going to discuss with Phuket and other relevant officials to request extending closing times for nightlife venues. We are aware Pattaya, in particular, is also pushing hard for a legal extension of closing times and reopening their nightlife industry in full.”

“However, this depends on the province and the disease control committee, and the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, CCSA. I understand how business operators and entertainment venue operators feel. EVERYONE IS suffering!,” he added, putting emphasis on everyone.

The CCSA, notes The Phuket Express, has given no definitive statements about a legal reopening of nightlife venues or allowing tourist areas like Pattaya and Phuket to extend closing times or have an exception from national rules. The CCSA has only said that more restrictions will be eased as Thailand approaches considering Covid-19 as an endemic disease, planned to be roughly by July.

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Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than three years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.