Soon new rules for nightlife entertainment - include no dancing

23 Jun 2020

Nightlife entertainment facilities owners have been crying foul about a series of new laws to be implemented when they reopen, arguing too certain social-distant legislation would endanger their livelihoods.

The draft, which was unveiled Monday, lists a total of 22 articles. The draft will be forwarded Friday to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The CCSA is expected to accept the fifth step of the Covid-19 constraints loosening which involves nightlife venues.

The novel epidemic of coronavirus has since March pulled the curtain down at bars, karaoke stores, spa parlours and other forms of adult entertainment locations.

The owners expected to restart next month.

Last week, artists and entertainers made an emotional plea to the government to let them get back to work. They said the closure was long and that the situation put them in dire financial straits.

CCSA pledged on Sunday to enable nightlife venues to reopen during the fifth July period. Operators, though, also voiced worry over laws prohibiting dancing, mingling and holding more than a minimum amount of clients.

The operators are suggesting that restricting customers to five per category could deter them from coming.

Sanga Ruangwattanakul, chairman of the Buddy Group's Khao San Business Association and CEO, said the regulations for entertainment facilities are more strict than those put on eateries and filming crews.

Because of Covid-19's economic effect, people continue to reduce needless expenditures and nightlife entertainment consumption is at the top of their list, Mr Sanga said.

"We try to make them more accessible because citizens won't go outside," he added.

He agreed that the operators would have no choice but to comply with the regulations, but they should advise CCSA to evaluate the situation and suggest a week after enforcement easing the laws.

Thailand has not seen any local transmissions for 28 days, so if there are no local cases identified by then the CCSA will recommend relaxing the night spot regulations, he added. 

It will take time, according to Mr Sanga, until the sector, where up to two million people are working, recovers from the outbreak's economic downturn.

Only 20,000 of the country's estimated 100,000 night spots are properly registered while the rest operate without licences.

The chairwoman of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), Supawan Thanomkiatphum, said the company operators must be careful.

"If the interventions would reduce the chance of a second outbreak, we might continue accepting tourists from overseas," Ms Supawan said.

"Although hotels are permitted to reopen, most of us rely on foreign tourists."

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the government is likely to allow the removal of the emergency decree by Friday, two weeks after the fourth level of lockdown relaxation has been enforced.

Mr Wissanu said that the decision to remove or expand the emergency decree would be made on the basis of Covid-19 danger assessments. If the nation experiences no second wave of outbreaks, instead, he added, the Communicable Disease Control Act is adequate to suppress
the virus. 

The government has praised the emergency decree as a critical weapon to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections because it allows for rapid action and cooperation among state agencies. Since it was invoked on 26 March it has been extended twice.

Mr Wissanu said that if the emergency decree is lifted, all closure orders will automatically end, but noted that Sections 34 and 35 of the Communicable Disease Control Act may still be invoked for the closure of certain companies.

"If the emergency is removed, we will shut some stores or malls [using the Communicable Disease Prevention Act] before they address issues. We don't enforce lockdowns," he stated.

Democracy activists led by Parit Chiwarak on Monday renewed calls for the lifting of the emergency decree, saying the situation has greatly improved, justifying the lifting of the decree.

Source Bangkok Post