Entertainment venues were given the green light to finally open for the first time in about three and a half months last night in Pattaya, Thailand.
Pattaya is known worldwide for its entertainment and hospitality industry, with an estimated eighty percent of the venues in the city marketed for tourism and entertainment related venues. However, due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, entertainment venues were ordered closed across Thailand since March 18, 2020. The Thai Government agreed earlier this week, on Monday, June 29th, to re-open entertainment venues such as bars, clubs, nightclubs, pubs, karaokes, hostess bars and similar establishments, albeit with strict rules and regulations.
Here is a video of the first night:
The original proposed list of rules and regulations were not referred to in Monday’s press conference by the CCSA. The list, which can be found here, outraged many bar owners throughout the country, with many stating it was unreasonable and unenforceable. The list appeared to be further whittled down on Friday of last week and Monday of this week, although caused substantial confusion across the country with even local and regional officials unsure what the exact rules were for bars. This is also why provincial specific orders were not released to the public earlier this week, leaving many bar owners guessing as to what the proper procedures were.
The Pattaya News spoke with the Banglamung Police, which informed us the following rules were in effect in Pattaya:
-1 meter between patron, no large groups (the exact number of five was not stated)
-2 meters between tables of different groups or partitions if it is not possible.
-Thai Chana Platform for Covid-19 tracing strictly applied and used at all venues.
-Hygiene measures such as temperature checks and hand sanitizer upon entry
-All staff must have face masks and/or face shields. It appears hostesses with only face shields is acceptable.
-If a venue allows smoking there should be a separate location or it should be outside.
-The venue must have functioning, clean ventilation
-No promotions or events that are designed to entice people to visit at this time.
-CCTV must be working and stored for thirty days
-Business must have a proper license for all activities
There was no mention of a ban on pool or darts, bans on bottle services or beer towers, mandatory mask wearing for patrons (as they are drinking), bans on purchasing staff drinks or talking to staff and importantly dancing and singing is ok with your own group at your table.
This being said, the rules are subject to change, as always, Banglamung Police reminded us during a phone conversation.
As for the first night of venue re-opening, expected and forecast thundershowers drenched the area for several hours, somewhat dampening the festivities for some. However, many venues were quite steady and lively in customer traffic, especially on Soi 6, Soi Buakhao and the 808 Disco on Walking Street. A significant portion of venues remained closed for a variety of reasons stemming from lack of staff, lack of knowledge around the rules, fear of lack of customers or wishing to wait until after this upcoming weekend which contain mandatory alcohol sales ban days and a two day closure of entertainment venues.
Banglamung and Pattaya Police, along with some military partners, were seen in force in the Walking Street area and inspecting the 808 Disco, however found that the disco had taken proper measures, despite being very busy, and were allowed to stay open. Several more venues are planned to open tonight in the Pattaya area and over the next several days.
The Pattaya news spoke with Saifon, a representative of the Night Wish Group on Soi Six, which opened seven of their twenty nine bars. She stated that their bars had been very steady despite the rain and lack of international tourists with expats and long stay tourists stuck in Thailand during the Covid-19 crisis. However, she also stressed that the group was using proper measures, had Thai Chana logs at every bar, proper hygiene checks, face masks and face shields for staff and were committed to proper cleaning and disinfecting of the bars on a regular basis. They were also complying with the midnight closure request.
Notably, Thailand remains under an international travel ban for tourists and most groups of foreigners until further notice which has caused some venues to decide to stay closed for an extended period of time to help prevent possibly incurring additional costs.
Thailand has not had a single recorded locally spread case of Covid-19 in 38 days.