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Cabinet discussion on extending nightlife hours pushed back to end of November

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The government has delayed a discussion on extending opening hours for nightlife venues in tourist areas until the end of November. The proposal to extend the closing time for bars and clubs in some parts of the country from 2 – 4am, was due for Cabinet consideration today. Instead, it will now be presented on November 29.

The proposal has been on the table since hours were initially extended, officially, to 2am in August as Covid restrictions continued to be relaxed. Many venues are already, unofficially, open well past the current legal 2am closing time.

According to a Phuket Express report, the reason for the delay is because a number of other areas in the country have asked to be included. The proposal currently applies to Phuket and 7 other popular tourist destinations: Krabi, Phang Nga, Samui, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok.

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, says other parts of the country, including the provinces of Songkhla and Kanchanaburi, have now asked to be included.

“Many areas fit the criteria to stay open until 4am. I believe these areas want their legal closing hours to be extended too. However, the ministry and the Cabinet need more time to study so that we will not leave any area behind.”

Pipat is in favour of the proposal, saying that extending the opening hours of nightlife venues will boost the economy in the relevant areas by 30 – 40%. He has denied that Cabinet is delaying consideration of the proposal due to protests from drunk-driving victims.

This week there’s also been increasing number pf fresh Covid infections, particularly in Bangkok and “tourist zones” according to Thai PBS World. Across the board, there’s been a 12.8% in new cases.

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