CCSA Orders Bars and Clubs To Stay Shut Until January 2022

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced that nighttime entertainment venues must remain closed until mid-January.

According to CCSA’s spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin, authorities decided to delay the plan to reopen pubs, bars and karaoke on December 1 by another month and a half. The CCSA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed that the new tentative date to allow nighttime venues to resume operations was January 16, 2022 but only in some areas, depending on their Covid-19 figures.

Dr. Taweesilp said the nightlife sector would need the period of time from now until January 15, 2022 to fully prepare for its reopening.

Thailand reopened to fully vaccinated tourists on November 1. However, eateries and restaurants continue facing strict restrictions on alcohol sales, and nightly entertainment venues were forced to remain closed even in provinces with eased controls.

Nightclub operators have repeatedly called on the government to lift booze bans in at least 17 tourist provinces and relax lockdown measures for pubs, bars and karaoke across the country next month.

On October 11, the prime minister said the government would consider allowing alcoholic beverages’ selling and consumption in restaurants and reopening entertainment venues to revive the tourism and leisure industry.

But the Public Health Ministry proposed delaying their reopening after consulting with other agencies.

The Covid-19 task force fears that reopening nighttime entertainment businesses could lead to more infections if appropriate measures are not defined and implemented, Dr. Taweesilp explained, adding that inadequate ventilation and congestion were their main concerns.

In response, the CCSA designated the Public Health and Interior ministries and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to enforce security measures related to nighttime business.

Venues located in restricted or sandbox areas that want to open in January must improve their environment and air circulation system, in addition to ensuring that all staff is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Then, they must meet safety standards imposed by the provincial assessment committees. Those establishments that pass the evaluations will be registered to obtain reopening permission.

Dr. Taweesilp insisted that authorities could decide to close any venue if a Covid-19 infection is detected.

Meanwhile, the government reduced the number of provinces classified as “dark red areas” and has considered relaxing travel rules. Thailand may replace the mandatory RT-PCR test for foreign tourists with antigen kit testing, the CCSA spokesman added.