Chiang Mai and Pattaya call for 1 a.m. alcohol limit

Restaurants in Pattaya and Chiang Mai are urging authorities to allow alcohol consumption until midnight or 1 a.m. during the Songkran holiday period to help shore up their business.

Patsanat Asvachaisopon, general manager of the Grand Jomtien Palace Hotel, said the government should further relax its rule on alcohol consumption during holidays.

Although Songkran is a long holiday, hotel reservations in Pattaya remain relatively low, with most tourists booking only one night on April 13, she said.

Extending drinking hours in restaurants past 11 p.m. would help generate more revenue and boost tourism, she said.

Wasant Sanguanthoykham, owner of the Sart Sura restaurant in Pattaya, said many establishments decided to remain closed even after the ban was lifted.

Most customers arriving between 9 and 10 p.m., he said, only have one or two hours to sell drinks, not worth reopening.

“We want the authorities to extend the hours to 1 a.m. as they did for the New Year countdown. This will give these businesses a lifeline during the holidays, especially as Pattaya will see fewer tourists due to the absence of Songkran and Wan Lai Naklua festival events,” he said.

It has been reported that operators in the tourism and entertainment sector of the group “Pattaya One Voice” plan to ask the Governor of Chon Buri, Phakthorn Thianchai, to allow the reopening of pubs, bars and nightclubs.

The group said their sites have strictly adhered to Covid-19 containment measures, including obtaining Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification, to ensure they can safely resume operations.

In Chiang Mai, Pattara Khanthachawaan, marketing manager at Maya Shopping and Lifestyle Center, said longer drinking hours would help boost economic activity during the Songkran holiday.

Since April 1, alcohol consumption is now permitted until 11 p.m. in all restaurants in Chiang Mai province that meet SHA Plus and Covid-Free Setting standards.

Restrictions were eased after the province was reclassified as a blue zone promoted for tourism. Previously, alcoholic beverages could only be served from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. in restaurants in five Chiang Mai districts designated as blue tourist areas.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, former president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said allowing alcohol consumption after 11 p.m. would be a boon for restaurants and increase sales volumes of beer rather than alcohol. He said whiskey sales are linked to the nighttime entertainment industry which has not yet been allowed to reopen.

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