Booze curfew: Bottoms up or pour it out at 9pm, Bangkok governor warns

A scene from ‘The World’s End’ (2013)
A scene from ‘The World’s End’ (2013)

Facing resistance to the latest strange rule to govern alcohol consumption, Bangkok’s governor insisted yesterday that no alcohol pass diners’ lips at 9pm sharp, one way or another. 

Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang said he would not consider extending the new 9pm booze curfew at the urging of restaurant owners. Those who consume alcohol in restaurants later than that time face punishment.

Asked about those who don’t finish their drink when the clock ticks 9pm, Aswin said they can take the drink home if it’s bottled, or polish it off. 

“If the drink is on the table, you can choose either 1. Bottoms up 2. Pour the drink away,” Aswin said. 

Aswin said restaurants will be under constant inspection. Raids and enforcement acts have been on the rise recently as Thailand prepared for yesterday’s reopening to travel. Police have been spotted searching venues across the city, such as six uniformed cops converging on Silom’s Thaniya Plaza prior to inspecting local restaurants.

Bangkok restaurants can now serve alcohol on premises until 9pm, as long as they successfully acquire a SHA certificate. In Bangkok, about 1,350 restaurants have been approved so far. For those diners who wonder where these SHA-approved restaurants might be, the full list is available online

Aswin acknowledged the Thai Restaurant Association’s demand for later drinking hours, and hinted that the rule wasn’t permanent. Rather, Aswin said, things would have to “proceed gradually.”

“I want restaurants to be able to open normal hours, but I think we should proceed with things gradually, shouldn’t we?” Aswin said. “If we open normal hours right away, people may get reckless and we need to reconsider the situation every two weeks … I think we’d better step slowly but surely.”

Restaurant operators can apply for the SHA certificate by completing a form, and uploading relevant documents as well as photos showing their “hygiene” such as servers wearing face masks. Instructions in English are available.

There are many reports of the site failing to work properly. The same story goes for the new Thailand Pass system for obtaining permission to travel: crippled by bugs.

Tanee Sangrat, foreign affairs spokesperson, said this morning that it had only approved about 4,200 of the roughly 23,000 travel requests.

“The Thailand Pass Team is working around the clock to manage issues that arise to ensure effective registration for travelers,” Tanee said.

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