PATTAYA: Police patrolling the Nong Prue sub-district of Banglamung in Pattaya on Thursday afternoon were surprised to find one bar open and up to 30 foreigners drinking beer in contravention of the governor’s order issued 48 hours before.

On Thursday, two women running a beer bar catering to thirsty foreigners were arrested by Thai authorities for flouting the closure order issued on Tuesday by the Governor of Chonburi province, Pakorn Thornchai. It comes as authorities are warning all those found in breach of the expanding range of orders to fight off the coronavirus disease will face the full weight of the law.

A police officer talks to a woman at the Rock Bar in Banglamung on Thursday as police found it open at 4 pm. Police arrested two women, a 20 and 45-year old who face prosecution under the Communicable Disease Act 2015 for opening the bar in contravention of a legal order issued by Chonburi’s Governor Pakorn Thornchai.

As metropolitan authorities in Bangkok issue an order for the closure of all shopping malls from Sunday until April 12th, Thai police in Chonburi and Pattaya have been enforcing the closure of bars and other establishments announced last Tuesday.

The ban is in force until March 31st although, given the worrying escalation of infections in the kingdom, this may now be extended.

On Thursday at 4 pm, however, police patrols found one bar open catering for up to 30 customers and serving beer. Most of the clientele were foreigners.

Police arrested two women at the scene

The police arrested two Thai women named as 45-year-old Naucharee Buanbet and 20-year-old Rinrada Photiphat.

The bar was identified by police as the Rock Factory located on Soi Buakhao in Banglamung.

The arrests were made under the Communicable Disease Act of 2015 and the two women could face a fine of ฿100,000 or up to one-year imprisonment if convicted.

Police issued citations at the scene as they explained the law and the gravity of the matter to both women while customers continued to drink beer.

Warning from District Chief in Banglamung

The district chief of Banglamung, Pornchai Sang-iad, has made it clear that all establishments are expected to fully comply with the new law without exception after the closure was ordered this week by the governor following guidance from the national government.

Thai authorities are currently considering further measures with higher levels of infections being reported.

It is now a distinct possibility that the closure of shopping malls and all non-essential retail outlets will follow for key provinces such as Pattaya deemed to be high risk by the government’s expert emergency panel which has been advising ministers.

Further reading:

Officials find a visa solution for up to 500,000 foreigners riding out the coronavirus crisis here

Bars and massage parlours ordered to close in Bangkok and Pattaya as officials say virus is still at local stage