(Bloomberg) -- Thailand will allow bars and pubs to reopen in some regions, ending a more than a year-long shutdown, as the tourism-reliant nation targets more travelers to bolster an economic recovery amid an easing Covid outbreak.
Pubs and bars in provinces classified as green and blue zones will be allowed to serve patrons until midnight, Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutecha told reporters in Bangkok on Friday after a meeting of the nation’s virus task force chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha. Though the minister didn’t say when these facilities can reopen, the industry has been pushing for a starting date of June 1.
The gradual reopening of the nightlife entertainment venues marks the end of some of the toughest pandemic-era restrictions and is seen as key to luring more foreign tourists in the June-September period, considered a low season for Thai tourism. The Southeast Asian nation has seen its omicron-fueled Covid-19 wave ease in recent days with new cases averaging about 5,000 a day from a peak of almost 30,000 in early April.
Thailand expects tourist arrivals to more than triple to about a 1 million a month from October as nation rolls back most of the border controls. While the country has scrapped mandatory Covid testing and quarantine for tourists, pre-arrival registration and insurance requirement are seen as deterrents with other tourism-reliant nations doing away such restrictions.
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