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Alcohol research group issues warning over extending Thailand’s nightlife hours

Flickr/shankar s

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force meets this Friday to discuss a possible extension to nightlife operating hours in tourist areas, but not all are in favour. The Centre for Alcohol Studies has issued a dire warning of “carnage” if the proposal is approved. CAS deputy manager, Surasak Chaiyasong, has cited statistics from a number of other countries to argue against extending nightlife opening hours in Thailand.

Surasak’s warning follows confirmation from tourism minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will consider a proposal to extend nightlife closing time from the “official” 2am to 4am in Phuket, Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi, Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai from October.

Phiphat says the change in hours would take into consideration the fact that many of the current tourists, especially middle eastern travellers, start their evenings later, with some nationalities not eating their evening meal until 10pm and then going for ‘drinks’ after (alcoholic or otherwise).

However, Surasak has hit back, saying Thailand’s existing hours for alcohol sales are those recommended by the World Health Organisation and are aimed at reducing drinking-related problems. He argues that banning the late-night sale of alcohol and alcohol sales on some public holidays has prevented incidents such as violent assaults, road traffic accidents, and drink-driving. He did not mention what terrible problems the prohibition on alcohol sales between the hours of 2pm and 5pm may have prevented.

Surasak has chosen some statistics from other countries to back up his case, pointing out that restricting late-night alcohol sales in places like Switzerland and Germany has reduced the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions. Meanwhile, he adds that restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Lithuania have led to a reduction in road traffic accidents.

“From the academic data and experiences of several countries, it is clear that restricting the days and hours in which alcohol can be sold is an effective measure for preventing and reducing problems related to drinking. We disagree with the extension of bar hours to 4am.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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