Bars push reopening

Bars push reopening

Ministry to re-zone certain provinces

Khao San Road, a favourite spot for tourists in Bangkok, is slowly getting back in business after having ground to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Khao San Road, a favourite spot for tourists in Bangkok, is slowly getting back in business after having ground to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Operators of night entertainment venues will reiterate their demand for the reopening of their businesses on Thursday, as the Public Health Ministry proposes to designate certain provinces as "green zones" where nightlife activities can resume.

Khathawut Thongthai, president of the Association of Entertainment Professionals, said operators of night entertainment venues and related businesses will meet Gen Supoj Malaniyom, chief of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration's (CCSA's) operations centre, on Thursday to discuss the reopening of their businesses.

He said while operators appreciated relief measures and financial aid granted to them by the state throughout the pandemic, such assistance was temporary and not sustainable.

"With daily Covid-19 infections having declined and the national vaccination campaign extended to cover all age groups, it is now time to ease curbs on nightspots and allow the industry to get back on its feet," said Mr Khathawut.

Previously, operators of such premises had urged the government to allow them to reopen their businesses in "blue-zone" provinces promoted for tourism from June 1, in response to the decision to scrap the Test & Go entry scheme on May 1.

Meanwhile, a source in the Ministry of Public Health said the ministry will review its Covid-19 zoning, with some provinces likely to be classified as "green zones".

Currently, there are two colour-coded zones -- 65 high-surveillance "yellow zone" provinces and 12 "blue zones" promoted for tourism.

Alcoholic drinks can be served in restaurants that meet Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus or Covid-Free Setting standards until midnight across the country.

The government is likely to allow night entertainment venues in the "green zones" to resume business, and the plan is expected to be forwarded to the CCSA for consideration on Friday.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, adviser to the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said the nightlife and tourism sectors are pushing for a full reopening on June 1.

"The reopening will generate about 300 billion baht for the economy," he said, noting the move would benefit chefs, musicians, performers and taxi drivers, among others.

These associations are urging the government to allow night entertainment venues, pubs, bars and karaoke parlours which meet SHA Plus or Thai Stop Covid 2 Plus standards to reopen in two stages.

Stage 1, they said, will see night entertainment venues in "blue zones" -- which cover 12 provinces and several districts in 16 other provinces -- reopen from June 1.

Meanwhile, Stage 2 would see venues reopen nationwide from July 1, if the first phase turns out to be satisfactory.

"Don't wait as we'll waste the opportunity.

"The government and the CCSA should make a decision as soon as possible," he said.

He said the group would also ask the Ministry of Public Health to downgrade its Covid-19 alert from Level 3 to Level 2.

The ministry lowered its Covid-19 alert level from Level 4 to Level 3 on May 9 after infections stabilised across 23 provinces.

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