Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand-
Public beaches remain open in the Pattaya and Jomtien area but city officials are warning tourists and residents not to use the beach as gathering spots to drink alcohol, hang out in large groups, or throw a party.
Previous confusion around beaches and the way legal orders were worded led some to believe beaches were entirely closed-this isn’t the case, according to Chonburi officials. It’s worth noting, however, that some private beaches, including those operated by the Royal Thai Navy in Sattahip, have decided to temporarily close until further notice. These private beaches stated that this is being done to “protect against the spread of Covid-19.”
Public beaches, however, like Pattaya, Jomtien, and Bangsaen beach remain open, but officials stated that these are primarily for exercise, swimming, and similar activities. Umbrella and beach chair vendors can operate but the seating must be socially distanced and no alcohol can be served or brought to these areas.
Officials are highly concerned about alcohol as entertainment venues are closed and restaurants have been banned from selling alcohol currently until further notice due to Covid-19. Thai health officials believe that alcohol causes people to gather in groups and disregard social distancing measures. Therefore, law enforcement and city officials, including Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronnakit Ekkasingh, were seen up and down on Pattaya Beach yesterday breaking up groups of people sitting together and inspecting to make sure there was no alcohol being consumed on the beach.
Chonburi officials have warned that those who violate the rules could face charges of up to a year in prison and fines of up to 100,000 baht that fall under the current strict Emergency Decree laws. Officials noted they are mostly giving soft warnings so far as people adjust to the rules, but if people do not follow directions or continue to disregard Covid-19 safety rules then stricter penalties could take place.
The Pattaya News notes that, technically, alcohol has always been banned on the beaches but is rarely, if ever, enforced. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, however, enforcement has returned. Alcohol sales are not prohibited from supermarkets and similar licensed stores but officials are stating people should only consume them at home with members of their household and not throw house parties or events.