If the plan of Dr Saman, president of the Disease Control Department's Office of Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Consumption Control Committee, goes ahead, the selling of alcohol in public places in Phuket, and across Thailand at large, will be banned, along with drinking in many public places.
“There is already an actual law – an act that bans the sale of food, beverages and other items on the street and footpath. So this regulation comes under that same law, and we will enforce it strictly,” Dr Saman said.
He added that the cabinet were very busy at the moment, so the new regulation had been put on hold.
But Dr Saman said it was not being ignored, as it had already been approved by the Ministry of Public Health last year.
“If the regulation is launched, we will suppress only the alcohol sellers on the street and footpaths. Other businesses such as food vendors or non-alcoholic beverage vendors won’t be included.”
Dr Saman’s proposed regulation mandates a ban on all alcohol sales on footpaths, pavement and streets – which would also apply to small mobile food shops. In addition, the sale and consumption of alcohol in municipal and provincial parks would be prohibited.
These would include Loma Park in Patong, the centre for Phuket Bike Week, and Saphan Hin next to Phuket Town, epicentre of Songkran celebrations and many other public events.
The new regulation would also cover places such as Bangla Rd.
Under the proposed regulations, sales of alcohol would also be limited to specific hours, between 5 am and 2 pm, and from 5 pm to midnight anywhere except inside entertainment venues and international airport buildings.
Paiboon Upatising, President of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (OrBorJor) told The Phuket News earlier that it would be hard to apply the regulations in a tourism-focused place like Phuket.
“We can see small shops everywhere on the pavement, and some of them sell alcohol. It would be difficult to enforce for real,” he said.
He added that it would be acceptable if the authorities just wanted to control alcohol consumption during festival periods such as New Year or Songkran, but strict year-round control would be near impossible.
Chairat Sukkaban, deputy mayor of Patong – Phuket’s party centre – previously said he believed the regulations would definitely affect tourism, especially in Patong.