The reopening of nightlife entertainment venues nationwide may be delayed due to several concerns, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha stated at a press interview today, December 2nd.
The Prime Minister apologized and said that the delay may be possible, at least for a month. He stressed that he did not neglect any nightlife business and tourism sectors and was not specifically targeting the sector but the government needs to weigh the possibility of more Covid outbreaks from nightlife and consider the situation based on the reports of public health experts.
Currently, bars, nightclubs, pubs, and similar entertainment venues, the entire nighttime economy, has been closed since early April. Some tourist areas like Phuket have been given exemptions for restaurants to sell alcohol, leading to some bars to become temporary restaurants with easily obtained temporary licenses, but for the most part the sector was legally closed. The sector had previously been considered to be opened by December first, that had been pushed back to January 16th several weeks prior, despite outcries from business owners.
Prayut stated: “We didn’t want to become an ineffective government, everything we did was for the best. Therefore, the reopening might be delayed, probably about one month. We have to listen to the public health ministry and experts who are concerned about the sector and the Omicron variant and several other covid related concerns. Meanwhile, the cabinet has ordered related departments to consider financial support and remedies for these activities and businesses already.”
The Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana also revealed to the Associated Press that the Prime Minister was satisfied with the overview of the vaccination process, adding that the number has reached 93,929,601 doses as of Thursday which was closer to the government’s target of 100 million doses by the end of 2021.
The spokesperson said: “The number of vaccinations that had been carried out from February 28th to December 1st is satisfying as it is closing in on reaching the target of 100 million doses by the year-end. Meanwhile, the number of students aged 12-18 years who applied for the vaccinations was also more than expected.”
“Despite the resolving situation of the Covid-19 in Thailand, the Prime Minister continued to urge related departments and agencies to keep an eye out for risk factors that could cause a new epidemic, including preventing illegal immigration and following up foreigners traveling from risky countries. Visitors who have traveled from such listed countries in southern Africa recently were being followed and requested for RT-PCR testing for preventive and proactive control.”
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