Areas for Nightspot 4am Closing Time Can Extend, Says Anutin

Interior Minister Anutin Charvirakul expressed his openness to the idea of extending the areas where entertainment venues can stay open until 4am as a means to stimulate the economy.

His remarks were made during a visit to entertainment spots on Khao San Road on late Saturday night, which was the second evening since the government extended the closing time for certain entertainment venues to 4am.

Mr. Anutin noted that venue operators were effectively adhering to safety measures, ensuring public safety despite the extended closing hours.

“Operators promise not to sell alcohol to heavily drunk customers… There must be no narcotics, weapons, drink driving or visits by young people aged under 20,” he said.

When questioned about the possibility of increasing the areas where entertainment venues have extended operating hours, Mr. Anutin responded, “We are ready to support whatever will boost the economy.”

“The operating hours until 4am increases money in circulation, employment and even the income of taxi drivers.”

“This is the intention of the government. But it must be subject to regulations. If it is under control and every party cooperates, we are ready to consider (zone expansion),” Mr Anutin said.

In Phuket, Governor Sophon Suwannarat observed that most patrons at entertainment venues were foreigners, and regulations were being well followed.

At the same time, Dr. Polathep Vichitkunakorn, the deputy director at the Centre for Alcohol Studies, noted that the government overlooked requests to delay extending operating hours.

He pointed out that research indicates an increase in sexual harassment, crime, physical assaults, fights, and property damage during times when alcohol is available for sale and consumption.

He also mentioned that the government had further prolonged the operating hours of entertainment venues, allowing them to stay open from the night of December 31 until 6am on January 1.

“Before the end of the year, the government must show that traffic accidents have not risen since operating hours were extended,” Dr Polathep said.

Starting from Friday, the government has extended the operating hours of entertainment venues in Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui (in Surat Thani province), as well as in registered hotels across the country, allowing them to remain open until 4am.