Entertainment venues in certain areas can open until 4am from Dec. 15, announced Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
The move, which officials began toying around with since the COVID-19 pandemic and had finally been proposed for in October, has been given the go-ahead but only in certain areas of four provinces – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Chonburi – in an effort to increase tourism revenue during the New Year holidays.
The extension is seen as a trial period in order to gauge whether the measure is beneficial to the tourism and leisure industry.
Thanakorn Kuptajit, advisor to the Alcohol Beverage Business Association, thanked the Prime Minister for the move, which he lauded for its potential to generate income for the country.
He also urged the government to lift the alcohol sale ban from 2-5 pm and adjust any zoning where the ban is to remain.
However, Deputy PrimeMinister Anutin Charnvirakul came forward on Saturday to clarify that while entertainment hotspots get to close in the wee early hours of the morning, it does not mean that selling alcohol can extend from 2am. Yep, that means you still have to close up the tab come 2am.
Last month, Coconuts interviewed a handful of people in the nightlife industry who welcomed the 4am closing time, but who also warned that it also poses risks related to safety, transportation, and fair regulations across all nightlife businesses.
The idea to extend entertainment venues’ closing times had been in the pipeline since the COVID-19 pandemic battered the tourism and leisure industry due to two years of strict public health controls under the emergency decree imposed by the government in March 2020.