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Government rules out extending alcohol sales hours (for now)

PHOTO: Pickpik

There will be no extension to Thailand’s current alcohol sales hours, at least for now. That’s the decision of a government panel, which pointed to a rise in road accidents and related casualties following an extension to sales hours in certain tourist areas this past high season.

According to the health minister, Somsak Thepsutin, officials examined statistics related to road traffic accidents in making its decision. However, he says there are still 5 draft laws related to alcohol which need to be checked by parliament.

Alcohol can currently be sold between the hours of 11am and 2pm and again from 5pm to midnight. For bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, these hours may be extended, depending on where they are located.

In December last year, alcohol sales hours were extended in some parts of popular tourist provinces like Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui).

For some 1,800 nightlife venues allowed to remain open until 4am, it was agreed that alcohol sales hours would be extended to 2am. This was done with the aim of boosting tourism and increasing revenue for nightlife businesses still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, chief of the Disease Control Department, says a subsequent survey shows an increase in road traffic accidents and fatalities, in particular between the hours of 2am and 6am.

In January, the areas with extended alcohol sales hours showed a 31% increase in road accident deaths compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Thai Road Safety Centre.

In related news, a longstanding ban on shops and supermarkets selling alcohol between 2pm and 5pm is not included in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. Rather, it was implemented by Thanom Kittikachorn’s coup regime all the way back in 1972.

The bizarre regulation hasn’t been looked at since and is still confusing tourists to this day.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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