Entertainment professionals petition govt for Covid-19 lockdown remedy

A network of nightlife and entertainment professionals have petitioned the government for support for workers and business owners affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Representatives of the Federation of Nightlife and Entertainment Professionals submitting their petition at parliament

Representatives of the night-time and entertainment industry who came together as the Federation of Nightlife and Entertainment Professionals went to parliament on Thursday (17 June) to submit a petition for government support for those affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns and a proposal for how the government might provide a remedy for the nightlife and entertainment industry.

The group included representatives of nightlife business owners and workers, event organisers, musicians, and the Craft Beer Association. Their petition was received by Pheu Thai MP Chonlanan Srikaew and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

The group called for the government to allow them to reopen by 1 July 2021 while still following disease control measures and to allow on-site alcohol sales. They also asked that performances be allowed under disease control measures, as well as for the government to allocate vaccines for entertainment and nightlife professionals.

The group also asked for a clear policy to assist those affected by the lockdown, as well as on moratoriums and soft loans, and to allow members of the affected sector to participate in the policymaking process.

The group’s statement said that, with every order made under the Emergency Decree, they are always the first sector to face closure and the last to be allowed to reopen, and that the latest closure order issued on 9 April 2021 has already caused a 130,000 million baht loss in revenue, worsening unemployment issues and causing many establishments to go out of business.

In January 2021, the Craft Beer Association, local beer producers and retailers, and entrepreneurs also petitioned the Ministry of the Interior for an extension of restaurant opening hours and for on-site alcohol sales to be allowed so that they may keep their businesses afloat.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thai government has closed entertainment and nightlife establishments and banned gatherings and events as part of its disease control measures. Since March 2020, these establishments have been closed for over 200 days, affecting not only businessowners but also daily wage workers, including musicians, wait staff, bartenders, and street food vendors.

Under the current government control measures, restaurants are allowed to offer dine-in services until 21.00 and takeaways until 23.00. They must also reduce the number of customers allowed on the premises at one time for social distancing, and on-site alcohol sales are not allowed. Bars, karaoke parlours and other entertainment establishments are to remain closed, as well as cinemas, exhibition centres, and performance spaces, while any event which includes more than 20 people must get prior permission.

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