Thailand delays reopening of entertainment venues to Jan. 15

Thailand says it would delay the reopening of nightlife entertainment venues to Jan. 15 despite pleas from the industry to make it sooner

BANGKOK -- Thailand on Friday said it would delay the reopening of nightlife entertainment venues to Jan. 15 despite pleas from the industry to make it sooner.

A spokesman for the government's COVID-19 administration cited concerns about ventilation and inefficient prevention measures in pubs, bars and karaoke joints.

“The experts show their concern about reopening these places because of the low ventilation and the crowd, which would be difficult to control,” said Taweesin Visanuyotin, a spokesman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration. “We will allow the businesses to reopen, but we might start testing in some areas first."

Starting in November, Thailand began reopening to fully vaccinated visitors without quarantine, easing the lockdown that has caused massive job losses and hardship. Tourism accounted for some 20% of the economy before the pandemic.

The Thailand Nightlife and Entertainment Business Association had hoped that nightlife businesses, shut since April, would reopen next month.