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Doctors Oppose Extending Drinking Hours in Thailand to 4 AM

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Doctors Oppose Extending Drinking Hours in Thailand to 4 AM

The Tourism and Sports Ministers push for extending the operating hours of pubs and entertainment venues to 4am has drawn criticism from doctors in Thailand.

The government of Thailand has floated the idea of increasing the hours of drinking establishments to boost the economy. However doctors are citing the potential for more road accidents and the risk of further Covid-19 infections.

According to the dean of the Siriraj Hospital at Mahidol University, Dr. Prasit Watanapa, the present closing time of 2am is sufficient given the current Covid-19 situation.

The doctor said there was no need to rush such a measure since night socialisers may get infected due to the longer gatherings and could possibly spread the disease to their families.

While, Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation secretary-general Dr. Taejing Siripanich says the measure might stimulate the economy, but it might impact the public’s health and safety.

More foreign tourists visiting Thailand

Additionally, Dr Taejing believes that extending the night entertainment venues‘ operating hours to 4am will not result in more foreign tourists visiting Thailand.

Using Thai accident data, Dr. Taejing claimed that the rate of fatalities in the second half of this year is already higher than last year due to fewer restrictions on alcohol sales and these venues.

However, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt are promoting later closing times.

According to Mr. Chadchart, the idea would spur the economy and increase transparency, as licences have previously been awarded in a more ad hoc manner prone to corruption.

Furthermore, the extension of operating hours would ease congestion at those venues and reduce pub owners’ need to pay ‘tea money’ to remain open later, he explained.

Meanwhile, in Surat Thani, business operators on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are already supporting the policy as they believe it will attract more tourists.

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