Pattaya Tourism and Business Associations president pushes issue on alcohol sales ban at restaurants and bars as Pattaya events kick off with many visitors

Pattaya –

Pattaya business operators, led by the Pattaya Tourism and Business Association President, are asking, once again, for permission to sell alcohol in restaurants or allow the reopening of the nighttime economy following the start of the Pattaya Music Festival this weekend.

This is only the latest in a near-daily push by business owners from across the spectrum, including in indirectly-related industries like hotels, retail, and general tourism to allow at the very least legal sales of alcohol in restaurants in Pattaya, which has currently been banned for almost seven months. Officials claim this is due to “Covid-19” concerns but other places in the country, such as Phuket, Krabi, and Bangkok have been given exceptions to the rule while Pattaya remains dry. Each area, however, has widely different rules.

In Pattaya and Chonburi, however, police have continued to double down on the ban as you can read about by clicking here.

In addition, police continue to raid venues and arrest customers, including tourists, if caught violating the rules around the alcohol ban. Concerned business owners in Pattaya claim that arresting customers, especially tourists, for having a beer is a massive hit on the image of tourism for Thailand and Pattaya, previously known for its famous nightlife.

This is despite Pattaya, according to Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume, having double-dose Covid-19 vaccination rates at over 80% and having reopened to foreign vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries without a strict seven to fourteen-day quarantine earlier this week.

The president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association Mr. Boonanan Pattanasin stated this weekend, “The Pattaya Music Festival is one of many scheduled weekend events which is bringing many domestic tourists to Pattaya. I understand if in the area of the festival it is not allowed to sell alcohol as it is in a public area.”

“However, the surrounding area outside has many restaurants, bars, lounges, karaoke, clubs, and other licensed businesses who are ready to open and sell alcohol but are continued to be denied despite the weekend events. They should have a chance to sell alcohol. We have already asked the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, for permission to officially discuss the issue next week, the week ending November 13th.” Boonanan stated.

“The Pattaya music festival has only limited seating in each stage area, with plastic chairs set up for social distancing and many rules for entering. This rule only caused, as seen at the festival so far, for hundreds, if not thousands, of people to gather on beaches, roads, and areas outside the limited seating area without strict rules to watch the event.”

“Pattaya City officials are aware of the limitations and are trying to develop better plans for the future festival weekends. However, it makes no sense that so many people can go to the festival, even though it is outside, but not have a legal glass of alcohol at a restaurant or go to an outside bar.” Boonanan added.

“Pattaya City is confident they can control the spread of Covid-19 at the festival.  However, so can local business owners, who have much less capacity and crowds, and are ready, willing, and able to comply with all rules to allow their staff to return to work and earn a living.

The point of these festivals is to drive domestic and foreign tourists to Pattaya to help recover the economy and assist local business owners whose venues have been closed or restricted for over half a year. How does it help them if their business or a significant revenue driver like alcohol remains closed or banned?” Boonanan concluded.

So far, Chonburi and CCSA officials have only said that they will “consider” the opening of nightlife venues by December 1st and have asked for venues to “prepare” for opening “soon”.  The vague answers have continued to raise frustration and anger from business owners even as many more scheduled tourism events, such as more music festivals, Loy Krathong, and fireworks festivals come every weekend leading up to the Christmas season.


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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.