Pattaya bar owners have only themselves to blame for the postponement of the full opening of Thailand’s nightlife sector, the city’s top nightlife executive said.
Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, secretary for the Pattaya Entertainment & Tourism Association, said “selfish” bar and restaurant operators who failed to follow disease-control rules created the environment for the omicron coronavirus variant to spread like wildfire during the holiday season.
Chonburi on Thursday reported 769 new confirmed cases, with 339 of those coming in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. The city has seen more than 300 new official cases – with likely many more unofficial infections – for each of the past five days.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Thursday that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday would likely reimpose a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants to stunt the omicron outbreak, which shot the national daily confirmed-cases total to 5,775 from fewer than 3,000 Monday.
It’s also possible the CCSA will ban dine-in service at restaurants and declare Chonburi and other hard-hit provinces as “red” coronavirus control zones again.
Damrongkiat said he had been worried about this happening as he looked around the city at the beer bars, go-go bars and watering holes that used questionable certifications and licenses to reopen at “restaurants.”
Many of these didn’t enforce capacity limits, didn’t space tables apart and were lax on ensuring mask use, temperature checks and hand-washing, he said.
Damrongkiat said he understood the desire bar owners had to reopen after being closed since April, but he said their selfishness and failure for everyone to work toward the same goal – operating while keeping the virus in check – led to the hammer coming down Friday.