Pattaya nightlife operators called on the government to reopen bars and resume alcohol sales and only close venues where coronavirus cases were found.
Prinn Panitchpakdi, deputy leader of the Democrat Party and director of the Night Entertainment Venue Operators’ Confederation, on June 18 submitted a letter to House of Representatives President Chuan Leekpai outlining the industry demands.
The confederation called for an immediate end to blanket closure orders, saying only venues to which Covid-19 cases can be traced back to should be closed and employees quarantined for 14 days. Across-the-board, blanket bans have done more economic harm than disease-prevention good, he said.
Bars, clubs and other nightlife venues should be allowed to open under strict coronavirus protocols July 1, Prinn said.
The letter also demanded that the government lift its ban on restaurants and bars selling alcohol, as health officials have failed to provide even an iota of proof connecting alcohol consumption to the spread of the coronavirus.
Lastly, the group demanded that the government hasten its Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, secretary of the Pattaya Entertainment & Tourism Association, said he personally feels that bars should not reopen in provinces with high Covid-19 transmission rates, such as Bangkok.
However, in areas like Pattaya and Chonburi with low numbers of cases, venues should be allowed to reopen and closures only targeted at businesses where cases can be traced to.
He said many business owners were heartened by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s pledge this week to reopen Thailand without restrictions within 120 days, but fear that deadline will not be met if his government can’t vaccinate the public fast enough. As of Friday, less than 3 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.