The Tourism and Sports Ministry will propose that bars and nightclubs to remain open 4 a.m. nationwide, up from 2 a.m.
Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said Aug. 11 that the proposal will be tabled at next week’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting. If passed, it would be need to be approved by the Cabinet.
The extension is in line with the foreign tourists’ behavior, such as European and Middle Eastern nationals, who regularly start dinner around 10 p.m. and start drinking at midnight,” Pipat said. “So, currently, when they start to have fun, it’s time to close. So, the current opening hours didn’t meet the needs of tourists so much.”
While 4 a.m. opening will be allowed nationwide, it will only be for entertainment venues in specified entertainment zones. Currently, only Walking Street is legal entertainment zone. Bars off the nightlife strip are supposed to close at midnight. Many remain open far past that time through special “arrangements” with authorities.
In Bangkok, as another example, there are only three zones. So, if Pipat’s proposal goes through, zoning changes would be needed.
The Ministry suggested that local business owners form committees to discuss zoning with provincial governors, who ultimately will have final approval on who gets to stay open later.
The Interior Ministry will need to approve the governor’s zoning plans.