Pattaya’s bars – or call them “restaurants” – may be allowed to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. again, but they’ll be doing so under far greater scrutiny, officials promised.
Pattaya’s lax enforcement of coronavirus-safety rules and closing times led to the city’s explosive Covid-19 outbreak. Now that restaurants and restaurant bars can serve booze later again, Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said police and administrators aren’t about to make the same mistake.
While the city is easing off on mass coronavirus testing due to the slowing number of daily cases, Pattaya and Chonburi Province next week will step up testing and enforcement in high-risk bar areas, such as Soi Buakhao, Walking Street and Soi 6.
Soi Buakhao, in particular the Tree Town Market, became the epicenter of the largest coronavirus outbreak in Thailand over the past month, as Pattaya officials granted restaurant licenses to beer bars and nightclubs, then failed to enforce social distancing, mask use and other coronavirus regulations.
The result was a massive explosion of cases, with 25% of Tree Town customers and staff testing positive for Covid-19 once officials finally clamped down.
Tree Town recently was closed for several days for a “big cleaning.” The market can expect constant police and administrative presence once booze sales increase Jan. 24. At least that’s what Sonthaya promised.
The mayor asked pub and restaurant operators to be more cautious and compliant this time, so as to prevent another explosion of cases and the inevitable shutdown that would come with it.
Negligent operators, the mayor vowed, would have their businesses closed.