After a police raid last Friday night, the Jomtien Complex, which is known as the largest gay community entertainment area in Pattaya, has been completely shrouded in darkness.
Banglamung Police have effectively shut down open street gay bars in the Jomtien Complex, also known as Super Town, just a week after they reopened. It was widely believed that the bar owners were looking for loopholes by selling alcohol, and believed that applying for the SHA (Safety & Health Administration) certificate was enough to pop the “corks.”
However, the Pattaya Police Department and officials of the licensing Department of Provincial Administration pointed out that the SHA certificate covers many types of businesses including restaurants, lodging, travel agencies, spas, souvenir shops, etc. The SHA does not authorize itself on its own. to serving drinks. The other requirement is that the business is licensed to serve food and where the food generates the revenue.
Bars that serve liquor as a staple but offer food to customers as an afterthought are not considered eligible under the Dec. 4 provincial edict of the Chonburi governor, which specifies “restaurants.” They must also have the SHA certificate which requires vaccinated personnel, proper sanitation and high-level public services. The popular Yupin’s restaurant, Poseidons Wine Cellar and Indonesian restaurant Trindy in the Complex are examples of fully qualified businesses that can legally serve beer, wine and spirits to dining customers
Banglamung Police Captain Tanakit said the bars in question were actually masquerading as eateries to justify the sale of alcohol, but this was not the aim of the provincial edict aimed at limiting the spread of Covid. For bars to operate, they must only offer food and soft drinks and must close at 9 pm. Making a commercial profit on this basis is not allowed, although a Complex bar has been open for coffee and pastries for several weeks.
Under the provincial decree, restaurants with a valid license and SHA certification are allowed to serve alcohol from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 11 p.m. Police added that in recent days they had received reports of parties being held in certain bars well past midnight with minimal attention to social distancing and the wearing of masks. No bar owners, staff or customers were arrested in the initial raid, but clear warnings were given.
Before the pandemic, the Jomtien complex was the centre of Pattaya’s once-famous gay scene, with competitors Boyztown and Sunee Plaza well past their prime.
Police later told reporters they were not specifically targeting gay venues, pointing out that their raids so far had been on non-gay establishments that were operating illegally. But bar staff in the Complex noted that a Merry Christmas 2021 is definitely not feasible.
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