The Ministry of Public Health has moved to reassure civic groups that it is adamantly opposed to extending the operating hours of entertainment establishments until 4 AM.
Supporting the ministry’s opposition to unlimited access to alcohol, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul reiterated that public health professionals share the fears of campaigners that the longer opening hours will encourage binge drinking and drunk driving, which would lead to more road accidents.
Although such a move would generate added revenue for businesses, Minister Anutin added that extending the operating hours of venues is not a sustainable method of stimulating the economy.
Thai law permits the sale of alcoholic beverages from 11 AM to 2 PM and 5 PM to midnight for vendors and until 2 AM for nighttime entertainment establishments.
Businesses in tourist areas have proposed that the government allow them to stay open until 4 AM, but the campaign has been criticized by various advocates and government bodies. These included the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee, which cited a potential rise in vehicle accidents due to increased alcohol consumption as grounds for rejecting the plan.
The proposal is expected to be considered by the committee, chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, on December 22. (NNT)