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Patong bars defy national order, open as ’restaurants’

Patong bars defy national order, open as ’restaurants’

PHUKET: Bars along Patong’s famed Bangla Rd have re-opened as restaurants, with some venues selling alcohol, in order to serve some customers and make a living in open defiance of a national order for all pubs, bars and other “entertainment venues” to remain closed as a COVID-19 prevention measure.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 14 September 2021, 06:15PM

The move comes after the venues owners were last ordered closed by Phuket officials in April, followed by a nationwide ban brought into effect by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok that is still in effect.

With the order to remain closed, the Phuket Sandbox scheme has brought no relief to bar staff and other workers, and venue operators in Phuket have not received any assistance from the national government, Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA) told The Phuket News.

“Right now, Patong is still silent because everything is still the same. The provincial government still orders all entertainment venues to remain closed and bans the sale and consumption of alcohol at all restaurants,” he said.

“While theCCSA still bans all entertainment venues from re-opening while allowing restaurants to open without serving alcohol, bar operators must adapt and have opened their bars as restaurants,” he admitted.

“There are no officials giving help to them. They still have to live their lives and support their families, so I encourage them to open their bars as restaurants,” he said defiantly.

“I know it is illegal because they do not have a restaurant license. However, the officers from the local municipality and the police help them by allowing them to do so, so they can continue their business in that way,” he said.

“I do not understand why local officials do not have measures to help entertainment venue operators. I do not want to blame them for ordering them closed, but they must give us some help,” Mr Weerawit said.

“We have proposed them to allow us to reopen a long time ago. I feel so fed up and I can feel the insincerity of Phuket officers who have their normal salary each month and do not know how much we have been suffering,” he added.

“Some restaurants [sic] are crowded and serve alcoholic beverages. I have to accept that they really exist,” Mr Weerawit admitted.

“However, they are not different from bars that are open-air venues. For pubs, I understand that they should not be open right now because they can become crowded and use air conditioners,” he continued.

“I do not understand why they do not allow bars which have similar characteristics with restaurants to re-open. They do not allow us to reopen without any help. I think it is unfair for us,” he said.

Mr Weerawit challenged provincial officials over their effectiveness in handling the impact of the current outbreak on the island.

“I would like to tell the officers who join the daily meeting at Provincial Hall with the Phuket Governor, who is not elected by our people, right now you all are floating [ignoring the other people’s problems]. You have only orders to close venues, but no orders to help or fix anything,” he said.

“For example, the people confirmed as infected who want to receive medical treatment in hospitals are being denied and told to stay home because of insufficient beds. From my point of view, it is not the right way to manage [the situation].

“What about those who are not infected in the same house? Do you think the infected people will stay only in their house?” he posed.

“Right now, the management of people in Phuket infected [with COVID-19] is very poor. Not only me, but every person can feel that. The number of infected people keeps increasing, but you tell infected people to stay home. Why don’t they open hotels for those infected people?” he added.

“I think at this stage, Phuket must have about 300-400 new infected cases per day, if the health officers are not trying to hide anything from us. I think they are hiding because they are afraid that the Sandbox scheme will be cancelled,” Mr Weerawit said.

“I want the media to stimulate the officers. They have the meeting every day, but there is nothing new from them. For example, staff at the SuperCheap store have been infected for a long time, but they only just recently ordered it to close,” he noted.

“They are supporting capitalists so much that they are forgetting us and the grassroots economy,” he concluded.

Comment on this story

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CAPTCHA | 17 September 2021 - 23:08:38

This saga also demonstrates that an economist, a politician
and a doctor should never swap jobs. | 17 September 2021 - 22:54:57

To be honest Khun Weerawit makes some valid comments.
The Governor is certainly not elected.
And the officials ignore other people's problems.
But of course that is what selfish people do.
Quite simply healthy people are very selfish.
That is what this flu saga has demonstrated.

Willy23 | 15 September 2021 - 17:06:12

Why does immigration kick out valid sandbox customers who paid the price to enter.  Many like me work remotely and would prefer to spend our money as good customers here in hotels and restaurants than go to spend in other countries.   There needs to be options for people to stay longer than the maximum 75 days.   Otherwise, you are defeating the purpose of the Sandbox buy kicking go customers out.

Kamala Pete | 15 September 2021 - 12:11:56

The rules are being made by the men with influence and money. They couldn't care less about the bars, vendors and entertainment venues that used to make the island exciting and interesting to visit. Their agenda is to fly tourists  in and fleece them. Well done to the police who allow the small businesses to survive and pay their staff.

JohnC | 15 September 2021 - 09:13:16

Makes local officials look very stupid. Come to Phuket sandbox for your holiday. Can't drink alcohol or enjoy yourself, can't go anywhere safely and infected numbers climb higher daily.  Seriously, why would anyone waste their time and money to come here now.

Kurt | 15 September 2021 - 09:02:41

When one reads this article and compare that with what Phuket officialdom daily tells us, we notice a large dramatic gap between how people experience things and how officials think and (not) handle matters as needed. It remains and sticks with mass officials meetings, most have no clue and sit there as wall paper, and than the next pair of flip-flop orders are given. 

lelecuneo | 14 September 2021 - 23:40:30

300-500thb anyone can get a food licence...this was what happening rawai area with all the bars turning into restaurants... now this weerawit wanna run for president or what? he would simply flip the chair like everyone else once in that TH there is in the end only one ruler... the rest just follow 

Manneken pis | 14 September 2021 - 22:48:21

Well, Mr Weerawit. You are spot on. Especially about the officials getting their monthly salary and not caring about the welfare of ordinary people. However, you speaking out will probably lead to new crackdowns as they will be losing face.

CaptainJack69 | 14 September 2021 - 21:58:13

Actually many of them have obtained perfectly legal food hygiene certificates (that's the closest thing there actually is to a "restaurant license") so more power to them.

phkt-2016 | 14 September 2021 - 19:34:26

spot on Khun Weerawith, the system is stupid and not enforced. Some restaurants close as they follow the rules, others just serve drinks in paper cups. We need a fair system. Lets start with open restaurants and bars till 12.00 , for vaccinated customers and locals.

Fascinated | 14 September 2021 - 19:01:29

Not just Patong- this has been going on all over the island for a couple of months. In Kamala a few places aren't even going through the pretense of being a restaurant- its not exactly breaking news.


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