Entertainment venues that are set to stay open until 4 AM in line with the Thai government’s policy have been ordered to set up sobering-up areas to prevent patrons from driving home drunk.
The announcement was made by the National Alcohol Beverage Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, on Saturday, December 9th.
Santi Promphat, deputy minister of public health, announced after the committee’s meeting that bars and nightclubs must strictly obey the rules and regulations when they are allowed to operate until 4 AM, starting on December 15th, to ensure patrons safety and minimize alcohol-related incidents.
Entertainment venues in legal zones in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Bangkok and Surat Thani (only on Koh Samui) will be given this privilege, which also applies to hotels nationwide.
Santi stressed that operators are to specifically follow the Entertainment Place Act and Section 29 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which prevent nighttime venues from selling alcoholic beverages to people under 20 years old.
He went on to say that venue operators will be required to conduct breathalyzer tests on patrons. If customers’ alcohol level is above the legal limit of 50 milligrams per deciliter, they will need to rest at the areas provided by the venues until they are sober enough to drive home.
In the event that a customer refuses to rest and has a breath alcohol level exceeding the legal limit, the bar operators must contact the customer’s friends or relatives or hail public transport to arrange for their transportation at the customer’s expense.
Relevant agencies will collect data to assess the impact of extended operating hours.
TPN Media notes it is unclear how this plan is expected to be enforced and many entertainment venue business owners have already brought up many issues, including logistical, with breathalyzing every customer leaving a venue as well as to who would be responsible for paying for the equipment and what to do if a customer refuses the test.
This article originally appeared on our sister website The Pattaya News.