The government’s coronavirus taskforce this week will consider its sixth round of restriction-easing and entertainment businesses are wondering if later closing times might be in the cards.
Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said officials will meet midweek to debate remaining measures limiting economic activity. Tops among those is again allowing the entry of foreign migrant workers from neighboring countries to ease a labor shortage.
The meeting should also see the release of revised procedures to allow short-term entry of government guests and businesspeople, plus visitors to trade exhibitions and film crews.
Operators of bars and nightclubs are speculating that the CCSA might also lift the rule requiring entertainment venues stop selling alcohol and close at midnight.
Taweesin noted Sunday that it has been nearly three weeks since bars, pubs, massage parlors and other “high-risk” venues were allowed to reopen and not a single locally transmitted case of Covid-19 has been detected. Thailand now has gone eight weeks without a local case.
Both politicians and health professionals had been afraid that the reopening of entertainment venues would spark a resurgence of the virus, as it has in South Korea and Japan.
That hasn’t been the case and Taweesin said he was happy to admit that the concerns, so far, were misplaced. He said nightlife operators overwhelmingly have complied with disease-control rules, allowing law enforcement to be more lenient.
Having done such a good job, nightlife businesses are arguing that they should be rewarded with later operating hours. While bar areas in Bangkok’s tourist areas have been allowed to remain open until 1 a.m. lately, it’s at police discretion. Bar owners want the legal OK to stay open until 2 a.m. again.
Taweesin didn’t comment on whether the CCSA would debate hours, sahing only a number of restrictions would be up for debate.