Bars, Pubs, Soapy Massages Won’t Reopen in ‘Phase 4’

Photo: Cheer Beer Recruitment / Facebook

BANGKOK — Bars, pubs, beer houses, karaoke bars, erotic massage parlours, and children’s ball pits will not be allowed to reopen in the next phase of reopenings, the government said on Wednesday. 

The Phase 4 reopening measure, slated for late June or early July, will not include those establishments because they are considered “high-risk” of spreading the coronavirus, according to Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 crisis center. 

“We have seen in Thailand that pubs, bars, and karaoke bars are risky areas,” Taweesin said, referring to the Thong Lor downtown party that spread the disease.

The spokesman said the following measures and their start date would be finalized at the crisis center’s Friday meeting. He said it could be as early as June 14 or 15 or even in early July. 


Venues allowed to reopen include international schools and tutoring centers. International schools open first since they have earlier summer breaks. Schools under the jurisdiction of the state’s education ministry and will open later. 

Government seminars and meetings, as well as food courts, hotels, and restaurants can fully open. Restaurants can also serve alcoholic beverages. However, salespeople promoting the sale of alcohol will not be allowed.

“Cheer beer waiters or waitresses are not allowed. They promote people to stay and drink. Drink and then go home,” Taweesin said. “Restaurants can reopen and serve alcohol since people don’t spend as much time there, only during mealtimes.” 

Buffets cannot allow people to serve their own food.

Daycares, elderly care centers, meeting halls, exhibition centers, banquet halls, science centers, sports venues, and concert halls can also reopen. However, sports competitions must have no audience members, and concerts must practice strict social distancing.

“Going to the orchestra and relaxing is good. But with heavier genres of music, this could have people singing along and spreading saliva,” Taweesin said. 

Transportation centers and operation of buses, vans, and trains can also fully reopen – but passengers in vehicles must be capped at 70 percent.

Film production sets can have a maximum of 150 people on set. Spas, onsens, herbal steam services can fully open, but erotic massage parlours or “soapy massage” – a euphemism for commercial sex venues – cannot. 

Amusement parks and water parks can reopen, but pools and water play areas must allow only one person every 8 square meters. Ball pits must remain closed. Arcades within malls can reopen, but stand alone game shops will remain closed.


Open-air stadiums, martial arts gyms can also fully reopen and even hold competitions as long as there is no audience and no promotional sales activities are included in the event. Parks and group exercises can also be held, with a limit of 50 people per activity. 

Taweesin also announced Wednesday that four additional Thais contracted COVID-19, all returnees currently in state quarantine: two from India, one from Madagascar, and one from Pakistan. 

Wednesday marks 16 days in a row of zero domestic infections.