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According to Anutin, the closing time for bars would not be extended

Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, announced on Tuesday that his ministry opposes the plan by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to extend the operating hours of nightclubs by two hours.

On the other hand, political experts have described this announcement as odd. This is especially true given that Anutin is the leader of coalition partner Bhumjaithai, and it appears that he is opposing Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprasert, a fellow party member.

Tuesday morning, immediately prior to his attendance at the Cabinet meeting, Anutin announced the status of his ministry. This was in response to Phiphat’s declaration that the Cabinet would discuss his proposal to extend bar closing hours in select tourist destinations on Tuesday. This action was taken in response to the announcement.

Phiphat claimed that he will approach the Cabinet to seek permission for his plan to extend the closing hour of nightclubs and other entertainment venues in specific districts to four a.m., as opposed to two a.m.

He added that he would immediately implement the new extended hours for nightclubs located on Bangla Road in the Patong region of Phuket if his proposal was accepted by the Cabinet.

Anutin, on the other hand, claimed that the 2 a.m. closure hour is reasonable because Covid-19 remains a threat.

“We also don’t want to see more drunk driving accidents,” he continued. This is not something we wish to observe.

Observers believe Anutin is attempting to distance himself from Phiphat’s idea after pushback from civic groups and medical professionals. These individuals believe that extended closing times will increase drunk driving and road accidents.

In addition, they feel that Anutin and his party are still reeling from criticism over the decriminalization of marijuana, which medical specialists blame for the reported increase in youth marijuana use. These individuals believe that Anutin and his party are still hurting from the criticism about their marijuana decriminalization legislation.

At the conclusion of the month, the Alcohol Control Committee rejected Phiphat’s proposal to keep entertainment establishments open until 4am. The committee reasoned that, if they did so, alcoholic beverages would be served for eleven consecutive hours commencing at 5:00 p.m.

The committee also referenced the conclusions of a study, which suggested that if nightclubs were permitted to remain open for longer, there would be a 27% rise in the number of traffic accidents and as many as 20 deaths due to drunk driving.

In addition, the report quoted statistics indicating that, despite the presence of police checkpoints and severe law enforcement, less than fifty percent of intoxicated drivers are stopped.

The discussion of Phiphat’s plan, which was enthusiastically embraced by the tourism industry, was postponed for several months, and it was just brought to the Cabinet’s agenda on Tuesday.

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