In response to several recent cases of complaints from what were referred to as “concerned citizens” by local law enforcement, Pattaya Police Chief Khemmarin Pissamai has stated that Pattaya Police will continue to do their job and enforce the law around gatherings for social purposes, especially involving alcohol.
He was specifically referring to several recent incidents in Pattaya in which Police have taken action to disperse crowds of people gathering, especially in the central Soi Buakhao area, around alcohol and in social settings. Under the current Emergency Decree laws, which looks likely to be renewed another month despite widespread criticism and lack of popularity based on comments on social media from Thai and Foreigners, mass gatherings are illegal, especially based around partying or drinking.
The Police Chief stated that police were only soft warning residents and foreigners for the most part and admitted that a major part of the problem was that with all nightlife and bars shut people have begun to get “cabin fever” and gone out drinking and gathering on the streets around town in anticipation of nightlife re-opening. He did, however, state that businesses who did not adhere to the rules after warnings would face strict penalties under Thai Law. He noted that multiple restaurants who were acting as pubs or bars and primarily serving alcohol and not food had been shut temporarily around the city until entertainment venues were allowed to open. He asked for people to please be patient and understood why they were frustrated but that closed venues would be allowed to open likely very soon.
Nightlife is likely to open in a proposed Phase Five next Wednesday, July First, but under rules that some critics are calling “draconian.” This may contain a Midnight closure order on entertainment in a city that normally is open until the wee hours of the morning. Numerous other rules to encourage physical distancing also have critics and business owners calling them foul.
Critics on both Thai and Foreign media have stated that the Emergency Decree rules on gathering are no longer needed without a single confirmed case of Covid-19 in Pattaya for 73 days and no locally recorded cases in Thailand in 33 days. The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, in Bangkok disagrees and has pointed to a recent outbreak in Beijing after fifty days without a locally spread case as a reason to still enforce strict social distancing and gathering rules.
Meanwhile, with the Emergency Decree likely extending for another month it does not appear that the enforcement on gatherings will end anytime soon.
Photo courtesy Pattaya City Law Enforcement