Prayut to Discuss Reopening Bars, Lifting Virus Booze Ban
Major update: The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration approves the proposal to reopen bars and allow alcohol to be sold in restaurants in Bangkok, though they will have to close by 11pm, sources say. Full details are expected to be included in the Royal Government Gazette at a later time.
BANGKOK — The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, is set to discuss on Monday whether bars in Bangkok will be allowed to reopen and a ban on alcohol sales in restaurants lifted.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha himself, who wrote online Sunday that he’s aware the restrictions were having an impact on small enterprises in the capital.
“One of the issues to be deliberated is the easing of restrictions on consumption of alcohol in restaurants and reopening of nightlife establishments,” Prayut said. “The meeting will discuss this matter in the most careful manner, since it’s an issue that affects many small businesses, restaurants, and business operators.”
The ban was imposed in early January in a bid to curb the new wave of coronavirus infections, which resurfaced in Samut Sakhon province in late December.
The impact is believed to be devastating for many businesses in Bangkok, who were already left struggling in the pandemic throughout 2020, though a number of establishments have begun to serve alcohol discreetly in recent weeks.
Alcohol trade groups have repeatedly urged the government to lift the ban. But health authorities insist the shutdown is necessary to prevent crowds and gatherings that could spread the virus.
The ban is still maintained in the capital even as other cities like Chonburi and Chiang Mai already allowed bars to resume their operations.
The CCSA reports 92 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Thailand’s total infection number stands at 25,415 as of Sunday, with 83 deaths linked to the coronavirus.