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Bangla nightlife president blasts bar reopening rules

Bangla nightlife president blasts bar reopening rules

PHUKET: The President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA) has blasted the list of rules released yesterday (June 22) for bars and other nightlife entertainment venues to follow if the reopening of such venues is allowed next week.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 23 June 2020, 05:58PM

Pubs, bars and clubs in Patong’s nightlife district, if allowed to reopen at all, will reopen regardless whether or not they can implement all the rules (*see below), PEBA President Weerawit Kreuasombat told The Phuket News today.

The 22 rules were leaked to the public yesterday as a draft list to be presented to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok, which is expected to announce its decision on Friday (June 26) on whether or not to allow entertainment venues to reopen.

Among the rules are that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, all drinks must be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no playing of darts are to be allowed.

Further, the number of guests is to be restricted to allow for social distancing, with at least two metres between tables, or partitions installed, to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undermining the main reason people frequent such popular venues, the draft rules also called for groups to be limited to five persons. and guests were to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting and wandering around the premises.

The list of 22 rules is too tough for operating entertainment businesses, Mr Weerawit said politely, before launching into a tirade against the quality of thinking behind such an exhaustive list of precautions.

“I want to ask those who did this draft what was their thinking and what part of the brain did they use?” an angry Mr Weerawit asked The Phuket News.

“This draft for entertainment businesses is too tough. We want them to be more flexible. Think, the risk could be anywhere where people are around, and I have not seen any reason to come up with draft rules like this,” he said.

“If you make rules like this, you might as well not provide music entertainment. The singer wears a face shield while performing? That is not a great idea. And prohibiting people from singing while they are at the venue? People staying at home is better, right?” he posed.

Mr Weerawit believed that entertainment venues were being singled out with more stringent precautions to follow.

“We understand that the goal is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 from spreading, but the prevention must be strict and clear from the beginning, when the tourist arrives in Phuket.

“And tourists do not immediately come directly to the entertainment zone. They go somewhere else, such as a shopping mall, first. These rules, if applied in full, must not apply only to here [the entertainment zone],” he said.

“Entertainment businesses are not able to follow all the rules in this draft. It is impossible,” Mr Weerawit said plainly.

“We will still open next month anyway, even if we are not able to follow all these rules. If they want to shut down the entertainment industry because businesses are not able to follow these rules, then let’s do that. I don’t care,” he dared.

Lack of support

Mr Weerawit also blasted the lack of support from the government for entertainment venue operators.

“The government collects tax from us, but there is no help. The government never helps or supports us with anything for our industry. All they have done is provided some payments through the Social Security Office, but that was only for employees, not the business owner,” he said.

Government assistance is key to helping businesses find their feet again and to stand a chance of future survival, insisted Mr Weerawit.

“The Phuket provincial office needs to act as an intermediary and be able to negotiate with the business owner, landlord and banks,” he said.

“They should also have the authority to engage and talk with the Bank of Thailand for tax and fee exemption purposes, ideally once bar owners have opened their business for three months.

“Also the government should provide electricity and water free for three months to help provide some relief from operating costs while the businesses struggle to restart,” he urged.

The unemployment situation in Phuket is so dire that Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Thaunsak Phungdet has already submitted a formal request to the Ministry of Interior to provide people in Phuket left without any income due to the government ban on inbound tourists another three months of social security support.

“I have asked for the most social security support in the country. I submitted an application for the 90 days of social security support for people left without income due to the COVID-19 situation to be extended to a total of 180 days.

“The support for the first three months – March, April, May – is running out, and our request for the support to continue through June, July, August is now being considered,” Mr Thanusak said.

That was on June 10. Mr Weerawit confirmed today that no officials had contacted him about the extra social security support for former entertainment industry workers left without any income.

Meanwhile, Patong Municipality only last Saturday handed out yet another 1,000 “community bags” of essential items to people in need living in Patong.

Mr Thanusak earlier this month pointed out that according to current estimates, the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis may end up costing Phuket more than B280 billion in lost revenues.

Calling COVID-19’s damage to the Phuket economy ‘unprecedented’ Mr Thanusak in earlier this month said that by the end of May COVID-19 had already cost Phuket about B120bn in lost revenues.

A new road

Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup told The Phuket News yesterday that business operators were allowed to enter the Bangla nightlife area to prepare their venues in anticipation of being allowed to reopen.

“But they must inform me first before they will be allowed to enter the area,” she said.

The Bangla nightlife area remains the only geographic area on the island that is still under full COVID-19 lockdown.

“I think the CCSA will approve to lift the lockdown on Bangla Rd because there has not been any new cases of infection,” Mayor Chalermluck said.

Internal - Phuket Live Radio 89.5

The PEBA had asked Mayor Chlermuck to support their request for entertainment businesses to reopen on July 1, she added.

“I agreed with them, and sent the request to CCSA last Friday [June 19],” she explained.

However, special measures will be taken to prevent Patong, and the Bangla area in particular, from becoming a “red zone” for COVID-19 infections again, Mayor Chlermluck said.

“Thermal scanners will be set up at each end of Bangla Rd,” Mayor Chalermluck said.

“Entertainment venue operators also must follow the guidelines [expected to be approved by the CCSA] and must set up Thai Chana QR code at the entrance to their businesses so guests can register their attendance there.

“And they must manage their visitors inside the venue to allow for four to five square metres per person,” she added.

“I will inform them of the details of what is required again later,” she said.

Meanwhile, while Bangla Rd has been under lockdown, Patong Municipality has installed new drains underground along both sides of the road, and will complete the resurfacing of the road in time for July 1, Mayor Chalermluck explained.

“The road is nearly finished. All we need to do is paint the line markings on the road. The whole road has already been cleaned up,” she added.


*The complete set of rules are as follows:

1. Restrict the number of guests to allow for social distancing

2. Screen the body temperatures of both staff and guests

3. Provide adequate hand santisers at entrances and exits

4. Limit the number of people in each group to five

5. Provide enough space for guests to queue prior to entry

6. Leave at least 2 metres between tables, or install partitions

7. Ensure patrons are seated at least 1 metre away from each other

8. Maintain good ventilation

9. Prohibit dancing and singing

10. Replace menus with single-use paper sheets

11. Only serve drinks in glasses – no bottle service

12. Require staff to wear both face masks and face shields

13. Install partitions to separate crowds from performance areas

14. Prohibit gathering, shouting, wandering around the premises

15. Require performers to only wear face shields

16. Provide personal cutlery

17. Frequently clean the premises, every 30-60 minutes

18. Sanitise tables, chairs, door knobs, counters and other frequently touched surfaces at least once a day

19. Prohibit competitions and group activities

20. Prohibit bar games, including pool and darts

21. Ensure social distancing in smoking areas

22. Ban product presenters from sitting with guests

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Kurt | 27 June 2020 - 10:26:57

Perhaps Bangla Rd Red night life foreman W. can suggest his members to change premises names from 'Bar' to 'Restaurant'. Al problems solved. And the Patong RTP protection premium goes a bit down as well. Bars pay more than restaurants.

PakoRuiz | 27 June 2020 - 02:31:57

mgb daid: 
55555. Tesco, Ban and beyond, Home pro to mention but a few cannot even work the temperature machine. I have complained that I can not be 34.2 as I would be dead," but its under 37.5, so OK".  If 36.2 is reading 34.2 then a reading of 36.2 is actually 38.2 "muppets".

Me: The same event in Big-C, SuperCheap, Seven-Eleven..... 34,2º=I´m dead!!!

LALALA | 25 June 2020 - 15:16:05

DEK...FYI I am waiting for a direct flight to my chosen destination, expect it to be in July/August...it was already announced but need to be confirmed.

DeKaaskopp | 25 June 2020 - 13:17:08

"Never thought they have one" And this from someone who still can't figure out how to leave Thailand quickly by plane. Lol !

DeKaaskopp | 25 June 2020 - 11:36:45

@BigA  Playing billiard with the cue in one hand and a beer in the other hand ? Wow ! You must be the hell of a player.

LALALA | 25 June 2020 - 09:58:05

malczx7r... which brain ? Never thought they have one.

BigA | 25 June 2020 - 08:55:22

Article 20,can I play pool with my own stick wear cloves and wash the balls after every game with soap. The distance between me and the other player is minimum 3m. I would like to have an answer please  because that's what I do every day! (With a bottle beer in my other hand) and I will continue to do so!

BigA | 25 June 2020 - 08:42:38

I will drink my beer from the bottle,! that's the only way I knew that the drink is clean ,no Knock out drops,dirty fingers from Barmaid's,grease and lipstick on the glas and so on!can anyone tell me why no bottles? I pay 1000 Baht for an realistic reason!! and people like this run the country! Put perhaps that why we are here after all, Horst

malczx7r | 25 June 2020 - 05:33:37

The same part of the brain that they use when driving I'd guess, now if only they could be so good at rules when it comes to road safety, which kills far more daily, and let's not forget rules and following them, well know that's not the done thing!

maverick | 24 June 2020 - 15:38:51

Half of this stuff is lost in translation - life will be back to normal by the weekend for the few customers that are around in Patong especially - went to immig today town is deserted could not even get a coffee......makes Rawai look like Manhattan in the rush hour......businesses that do not have regular local clientele won’t bother opening 

amac | 24 June 2020 - 14:14:25

but I can drink from a bottle in a restaraunt.

Kurt | 24 June 2020 - 11:34:12

Lalala,  reading point 15, I was laughing. Performers only need to wear a face shield, further can be nude with perhaps some plastic star stickers glued?  Sitting at tables, 1.5 mtr distance? hahaha

Kurt | 24 June 2020 - 11:03:28

I remember a article in which Mr W. himself said that Bangla Road has to transform to a different 'New Normal' happening, with more tables at proper distance, etc.. What so far are his preparations for the 'New Normal' to impress the Health Autorities in BKK?

Kurt | 24 June 2020 - 10:58:05

Let's see first or the '22 rules' will be obeyed in Bangkok. If so, than it will 'work' on Bangla Rd too. The Governor has to look after proper obeying CCSA rules coming from BKK. The Patong Mayor has to follow in that too. ( whatever her sympathy is for businessman W.)

ThorFinger | 24 June 2020 - 08:31:39

As a singer, perhaps someone could tell me how I would use a microphone with a faceshield on. You may as well tell me to go swimming with a mask on....oh...wait...

BigA | 24 June 2020 - 07:04:20

In my merchant marine days, I was told in 3rd world country's only drink beer direct from bottles never from a glas,you never knew if they are clean! Now this joker's tell you exact the opposite ! 3rd world ! Horst

mgb | 24 June 2020 - 05:10:33

55555. Tesco, Ban and beyond, Home pro to mention but a few cannot even work the temperature machine. I have complained that I can not be 34.2 as I would be dead," but its under 37.5, so OK".  If 36.2 is reading 34.2 then a reading of 36.2 is actually 38.2 "muppets".

Sam85 | 24 June 2020 - 01:37:33

23.  people have to feed stray dogs with gloves and clean their excrement...

GerryT81 | 23 June 2020 - 23:01:02

I have to applaud this man for his stance against those crazy rules. I'm affected by similar rules  for my apartment-rental business in my home country.Looks like they using the virus to get rid of red light businesses. That's pathetic.

Nekar09 | 23 June 2020 - 22:08:22

.. Farangs are strictly forbidden from entering the Banglaroad

alf | 23 June 2020 - 20:11:01

Khun Weerawit blames the "quality of thinking" of the people making the rules; I think this is rather excellent thinking, aimed to kill all the nightlife business, as a part of "resetting tourism sector" as wanted by the government. "New normal" is ongoing, without bars, gogos, etc., anymore.

ThorFinger | 23 June 2020 - 19:12:19

Lol lol lol. Stupidity on an unbelievable scale. E.g. only glasses. No bottles. But staff will handle all the glasses but no provision to wear gloves. Where do you start? Where do you stop? Mr. Weerawit I feel for you and all the operators. Theses rules will be needed if there's a full blown virus outbreak assured but as the virus is dead on this island,  none of them... not one, logically app...

LALALA | 23 June 2020 - 19:12:17

This is the most ridiculous list of rules I ever saw... I personally like point 16 the most...At least I do not have to share my cutlery with the rest of the patrons anymore...Welcome to Lalaland 4.0. Assume point 15 is lost in translation though.....otherwise...


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