The city’s supermarkets and mama and papa stores are back big-time in the business of selling booze. The major outlets reported brisk sales May 3 after a three week lockdown on beer, wines and spirits, but locally there was no sign of panic buying.
A few stores began selling at 6 a.m. presumably relying on the national state of emergency regulation banning alcohol sales from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
But most outlets stated that they would permit selling of alcohol from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and again for one hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A Sunday call to 1337 city hotline, Pattaya Mail was told it all depends on each business. Lotus, Big C, Foodland, etc., apparently announced their own selling time from 4am to curfew.
The reasoning behind the initial confusion was a mixture of old and new regulations. The military government after the 2014 coup revived a 1970s law which restricted booze selling from 11.00 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. But the March 2020 state of emergency regulation specified no selling after 6 p.m. any day, prior to a complete ban in mid-April.
There is also a curfew in force from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
On Monday, May 4, however, the central government attempted to clear up the confusion with an announcement from the Ministry of Public Health’s Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, stating that the licensed hours “remain the same,” namely from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board director, Dr. Niphon Chinanonwet, told the media on Monday, “Normally, alcoholic beverages can be sold until midnight but, due to the curfew, the hours have been altered to 10 p.m. Violators will be subjected to a fine of 10,000 baht. Those who post pictures of alcoholic beverages on online media, in a manner intended to advertise them for sale, is punishable by a fine of 500,000 baht and one-year imprisonment.”
Meanwhile, provincial governors have the authority to maintain state of emergency regulations or to make them even more restrictive.