Pattaya Police raided a pub and a karaoke, a.k.a. “restaurants” in Pattaya after midnight (February 24th) this morning for allegedly violating Covid19 rules and the current closing time mandate of 11:00 P.M.
The Pattaya News notes that, legally, bars and nightlife have been shut since April of 2021, although have been allowed to become converted “restaurants” with various certifications and rules, such as early closing times, no dancing, no pool, a restaurant environment, and more. These rules, however, have been unevenly enforced according to many Pattaya residents on social media.
Pattaya Police first raided the ‘Apollo Pub’. More than 50 people were allegedly found drinking alcohol and smoking shisha (also known as baraku or hookah pipes). Shisha is illegal in Thailand, notes TPN media, with officials claiming the ban is to protect the health of the public. Critics, however, claim the longtime ban is due to the inability to tax the product due to most of it being illegally imported.
Pattaya Police also raided a venue called ‘Jakky Karaoke’ finding that male and female teenagers were allegedly inside. This violated rules on venues only allowing people over the age of 20 into alcohol-serving establishments. Additionally, the patrons were allegedly singing, which is also against current Covid-19 rules.
Caretakers at both venues were taken to the Pattaya Police station to face charges of opening their venues without proper permits, selling alcohol over the legal time limit, selling alcohol without a permit, and breaking the Chonburi Disease Control Orders.
Pattaya Police stated that they were “shocked” that despite high cases of Covid-19 people were still violating Covid rules and noted to TPN media that both venues were raided many times previously and as a result officers are suggesting to relevant government officials a closure order, although the exact duration was not made clear. Pattaya Police also added that the raids were only because they cared about patrons health and not targeted against the entertainment industry in general.
Entertainment venues, including bars, pubs, nightclubs, gogos, karaoke lounges, and other similar businesses, remain legally closed until further notice. Only modified restaurants with the proper certifications that are approved by the authorities are allowed to be operated. Alcohol is allowed to be served until 11:00 PM.