Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has given the greenlight for pubs and bars in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chon Buri to stay open until 4am, tentatively from December 15, to promote tourism and increase revenues.
Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke told the media that the government has carefully considered the proposal with security agencies and is fully aware that, in reality, many pubs and bars have been operating beyond the 2am closing time illegally and it is time to put night-life venues in order and in compliance with the law.
Apart from moving closing time to 4am, he said the prime minister has instructed authorities to look into the impacts, such as the noise problem, which may disturb people near the venues, drunk driving and drug abuse.
There are steps to be taken by agencies before the new order comes into effect. These include the amendment of Interior Ministry regulations regarding operating hours of entertainment venues, the issuance of licenses, zoning, social problems and support plans to ensure the safety of customers and the public.
Chai said the prime minister has advised that any step which can be done first must go ahead, such as zoning of the night life venues, adding that the prime minister stressed the importance of addressing the drunk driving problem.
The prime minister later told the media that the new closing time for nightlife venues is not only intended for tourists, but also for Thais whose businesses are related to tourism, such as restaurants and food shops.
He said the timeline for pubs and bars being able to stay open until 4am is tentatively set for December 15, adding that zoning can be adjusted in the future.