Chiang Mai, Pattaya want drinking hours extended
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Chiang Mai, Pattaya want drinking hours extended

Restaurants in Pattaya and Chiang Mai want selling hours for alcohol extended until midnight or 1am during the Songkran holiday period to shore up their flagging business, suffering under Covid restrictions.

Patsanat Asvachaisopon, managing director of Grand Jomtien Palace Hotel, said the government should further ease its alcohol consumption rule during the holiday.

Despite Songkran being a long holiday, hotel bookings in Pattaya remain relatively low with most tourists making reservations for one night only on April 13, she said.

Extending alcohol consumption hours at restaurants beyond 11pm would help bring in more income and spur tourism, she said.

Wasant Sanguanthoykham, owner of Sart Sura restaurant in Pattaya, said many venues have decided to remain closed even after the ban was lifted.

With most customers arriving between 9pm to 10pm, he said, they have only one or two hours to sell drinks, which is not worth reopening for.

"We want authorities to extend the hours until 1am like they did for the New Year countdown. It will give these businesses a lifeline during the holiday, especially since Pattaya will see fewer tourists due to the absence of Songkran and Wan Lai Naklua Festival events," he said.

It was reported that tourism and entertainment business operators under "Pattaya One Voice" group are planning to petition Chon Buri governor Phakthorn Thianchai to allow pubs, bars and nightclubs to reopen.

The group said their venues have strictly adhered to the Covid-19 containment measures, including obtaining Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification, to ensure they can resume operations safely.

In Chiang Mai, Pattara Khanthachawaan, marketing manager of Maya lifestyle and shopping centre, said extending alcohol consumption hours would help boost economic activity during the Songkran holiday.

From April 1, alcohol consumption is now allowed until 11pm at all restaurants in Chiang Mai province that meet SHA Plus and Covid-Free Setting standards.

The restrictions were eased after the province was reclassified as a blue zone promoted for tourism. Previously, alcoholic drinks could only be served from 5pm to 11pm at restaurants in five districts of Chiang Mai which were designated as blue tourism zones.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, former chairman of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said permitting alcohol consumption after 11pm will be a boon to restaurants and increase sales volumes of beer, rather than liquor. He said sales of whisky are tied to the night entertainment industry which has yet to be allowed to reopen.

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