Sex massage parlors may reopen but must report patrons to gov’t

A file photo of Kiss Massage located on Soi Sukhumvit 22 in Bangkok. Photo: Blemished Paradise / Wikimedia Commons
A file photo of Kiss Massage located on Soi Sukhumvit 22 in Bangkok. Photo: Blemished Paradise / Wikimedia Commons

A duller nightlife awaits Bangkok when nightclubs and other venues are allowed to reopen next month – but sex is back on the menu, public health officials said today.

No dancing outside of table areas and no tightly-clad girls pimping beer will greet patrons when pubs, bars and nightclubs reopen in July, the COVID-19 task force announced today, adding that they were relenting and would allow sex massage parlors to reopen after all.

COVID-19 task force spokesman Taweesilp Wisanuyothin said today that no forms of advertising will be allowed inside nightlife venues, including beer brand girls, ostensibly to reduce crowding. Among the raft of restrictive measures, he said employees won’t be allowed to sit, sing, or dance with customers, with only five allowed per table.

He added that selling alcohol in shared containers such as jugs, towers and buckets should be avoided and each table must be at least two meters apart or be separated by barriers of at least 1.5 meters. Even more, he said all venues must have CCTV cameras covering all areas of the venue.

In news likely to turn off prospective clients, the spokesman said that sex massage parlors would need to log all visitors with the government’s Thailand Wins tracking system. Other rules include frequent cleaning, temperature screening, mask wearing, and social distancing. The last two could only be dropped when, ahem, “bathing.”

Given how few venues appear to be zealously enforcing the rules of late, what vigilance to expect for these rules is questionable. Many bars have fully reopened without restrictions in place, and the nightclub rules are unlikely to be enforced outside of high-profile venues.

Taweesilp said all these rules were still in proposal form, with the details to be confirmed after the task force meets Monday. Its Friday meeting was postponed due to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s commitment to an ASEAN conference.

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