Entertainment business owners have continued to push City Hall and Pattaya area officials to allow closure of entertainment venues past Midnight.
Entertainment venues in Pattaya were legally allowed to re-open on July 1st of this month after nearly a four month closure due to concerns around the Covid-19 Coronavirus. It has now been nearly four weeks with venues re-open and there have been no confirmed and recorded cases of locally spread Covid-19 in Thailand since the opening.
Pattaya traditionally has had permission as a special administrative zone to allow entertainment venues, such as bars, karaokes, nightclubs, gogos and other similar business ventures to close later than the legal national time of Midnight. An estimated eighty percent of venues in the city are entertainment venues, according to city officials. However, the Thai Government currently has enacted an emergency decree to help manage the Covid-19 control process, which takes precedence over the special administrative zone rules and laws. This means that due to the decree and the Thai Government stating that midnight is the legal closure time, Pattaya is forced to officially comply.
The Emergency Decree was recently extended through the end of August, causing many frustrated business owners who were hoping that it would be cancelled to complain to local officials and ask for the Midnight closure to be lifted. Members of the Walking Street Entertainment Association have met with Police Chief Khemmarin Pissamai and Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume several times over the matter of Midnight closing. They state that the entertainment business has been already dealt a severe blow with an almost four month closure and that many people come to Pattaya to relax and party. They stress that closing at midnight is impractical for Pattaya and is causing significant revenue loss for many businesses. Additionally, they have pointed at the fact that the rule does not seem to be applied fairly across the board with some venues (who were not named) open until the wee hours of the morning but many other bars and venues force closed promptly at midnight.
With International flights for tourists still banned and with no end in sight local entertainment business owners continue to urge the government to allow them to stay open later to help make more revenue. The Walking Street Entertainment Association also stressed that no cases of Covid-19 had been found since re-opening venues and there was no scientific evidence that the virus was more deadly or could spread easier after Midnight.
Pattaya area officials have stated numerous times that they understand the pain of entertainment business owners and they understood that Pattaya is traditionally a “late night city.” However, they claim their hands are tied due to the government continuing to state Midnight is the legal closure time and due to the special administrative zone rules being suspended under the Emergency Decree. Regardless, Pattaya officials stated late last week they will be asking the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for an exception to the rule to allow later closing, proposed as 2:00 AM.
It is unknown at this time if the Thai Government will approve the proposal.