Chonburi tonight followed Bangkok’s lead, limiting hours for the city’s tawdry nightlife sector and cockfighting and similar venues for a week over the new year.
Chonburi Gov. Pakarathorn Thienchai issued the order that echoes one put out this afternoon by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration shutting down soapy massage brothels, many go-go bars and venues such as cockfighting rings while limiting pubs to offering anything only food before midnight until at least Jan. 4.
The order’s issuance was not surprising given 22 new cases reported Monday, taking Chonburi’s total caseload to 24. The new cases are will be reported as official statistics by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Tuesday. All are tied to a cluster centered around an illegal casino in neighboring Rayong.
Unlike Bangkok’s order, Chonburi’s directive says pubs, bars, karaoke clubs and similar venues can remain open until midnight, but only with seated eating and drinking and no dancing. Live music is not specifically mentioned. The Hollywood nightclub announced it would close during the restricted period.
Alcohol is not banned and pubs that enforce strict social distancing and offer food will be allowed to continue to serve. Clarification about what alcohol-only bars can and can’t offer should be available soon, but, as usual, may be up to district police to determine what they will allow, or how much in bribes it will owners for cops to look the other way.
While that would appear to impact Walking Street and Soi Buakhao’s many go-go bars, music clubs and discos. But Bar owners were reporting late Monday that go-go bars on Walking Street will be allowed to remain open until midnight.
While the city already had canceled the Pattaya Countdown, a number of bars and nightspots had been advertising new year’s parties, despite government discouragement. Monday’s order appears to put the final nail in the entertainment industry’s new year’s coffin.
It should be noted that bars, under the existing Emergency Decree, already were required to close at midnight. However, for the past several months, police had been allowing pubs and bars to operate until 2 a.m. with late-night discos going until 5 a.m.