Pattaya police “inspections” always have been more for the cameras than real effect, fact much in evidence Saturday night as top brass confirmed that Walking Street bars were following disease-control procedures before leaving so they could party past midnight.
Rules for the reopening of nightlife venues across the country dictate that all bars, clubs and pubs must close by midnight and alcohol sales also must end then. Photos and tweets from Sin City last night, however, show clubs like the Lucifer disco were still going hard after midnight.
The irony is that only hours before Pattaya police chief Pol. Col. Khemmarin Pissamai made a big show of dispatching officers to check nightlife venues and ensure they were complying with the many new restrictions.
Khemmarin himself led a troupe of troops down Walking Street early in the evening, checking that bars were scanning temperatures, providing hand gel and putting bands, like the one at the Candy Shop music pub, behind plastic barriers.
Go-go bar dancers had to wear transparent face shields and bikinis and service staff had to be in shields or masks.
While the cameras were rolling, everything was peachy. But after they were gone, the ladies on stage in places dropped everything else but the face shields and, when the witching hour came, Lucifer kept the doors open.
Bar owners in Bangkok and Phuket already have been lobbying hard for hours to be extended, with the operator of Nana Plaza begging to be allowed to remain open until 2 a.m. But, unlike Pattaya, police in both cities have been more resolute about sticking to the letter of the law.
Bar owners expect to see the operating hours loosened after two weeks or a month, provided their reopening doesn’t lead to a resurgence of coronavirus cases.