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Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol License Thailand’

2nd May 2020

The past 6 weeks have been very eventful in terms of the response to the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) lock down in Thailand. This crisis has also had a significant impact upon the American visa process. By way of an update, the Thai government has recently announced an easing of restrictions associated with the lock down of business and social interaction in Thailand. It now appears that as of May 3rd, small eateries, parks, hair salons, stores selling certain retail as well as electronic goods, and pet shops will be allowed to reopen. Thai government officials have announced that further phased reopening measures will be implemented in coming weeks should circumstances permit. Concurrently, it was initially announced that the ban on the sale of alcohol in Thailand would be extended throughout the month of May. There was some speculation that a “grace period” would be permitted on Mat 1st and 2nd to allow the public time to “stock up” on alcohol products in anticipation of further restrictions over the forthcoming month.

Shortly after these predictions and the announcement that the ban on alcohol sales would continue, it was announced that retail alcohol sales could recommence beginning May 3rd. Further, it appears that those eateries which maintain an alcohol license and usually sell alcohol in the course of their day-to-day business will be permitted to sell alcohol on a “take-away” basis. Therefore, for the forthcoming days small restaurants and other venues will be reopened to the public and life in Thailand appears to be normalizing somewhat. Notwithstanding these measures, restrictions on pubs and entertainment establishments remain.

While all of this is unfolding in Thailand, in the USA the US immigration system appears to be preparing for further delays associated with the processing of visa cases. The following announcement from USCIS recently came to this blogger’s attention:

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended routine in-person services to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS plans to begin reopening our offices on or after June 4, unless the public closures are extended further.

In prior announcements it had been noted that May 4th would be the presumptive date of reopening. It now appears that there will be at least another month delay for in-person services with USCIS. At the same time, the new Immigration Ban remains in effect although it is unlikely to have any impact upon those seeking a K-3 visa, CR-1 visa, IR-1 visa, or K-1 visa from Thailand as the ban specifically excludes spouse visas and only pertains to immigrant visas. Therefore, as a fiance visa is not, by definition, an immigrant visa, the provisions this new ban do not apply to fiances of American citizens. However, notwithstanding the fact that the immigration ban does no directly impact most family based visas from Thailand it is effectively a moot point for the immediately foreseeable future due to the fact that the Immigrant Visa Unit and the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit at the US Embassy in Bangkok are not currently holding visa interviews nor are the issuance immigrant and non-immigrant visa as they remain closed due to the coronavirus. We, in this office, are currently looking at the USCIS presumed reopening date as the best indication of when it seems prudent to presume that the Embassy will reopen for interviews. That stated, the ultimate date of reopening remains to be seen, but we will try to keep you up to date on this blog.

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1st August 2015

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of speculation and confusion surrounding the implementation of an alcohol ban in Thailand. Initially it was reported that a new nationwide ordinance was to come into effect whereby no one would be permitted to sell alcohol near schools in Thailand. It was then reported that such an ordinance had in fact been signed. This placed some business proprietors in Thailand into a state of consternation as the effect of the new rules would have significant impact upon their businesses. Furthermore, there were those who speculated that property owners in the relevant areas might lose real estate value in light of the new regulations.

However, Thai officials apparently reversed their decision at the last minute. Notwitstanding the fact that the proposed ordiance was signed by relevant officials, the text of the newly promulgated regulation was apparently not published in the Royal Thai Gazette and it would seem the proposed regulation has been withdrawn for the time being in order to more thoroughly review the overall policy regarding alcohol consumption and distribution in Thailand.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that from the 30th through the 31st of July, Thailand maintained an effective ban on alcohol pursuant to previously enacted legislation barring alcohol sales during significant Buddhist holidays. Notwithstanding the fact that the regulatory changes noted above were rescinded it remains illegal in Thailand (except under narrow circumstances) to sell alcohol during major Buddhist holidays.

In recent years there has been an upsurge in ordinances regarding alcohol sales. It appears that officials in Thailand are attempting to balance the need to maintain tourism with the conservative outlook of the majority of Thai people, especially on the issue of alcohol consumption. Where the balance will ultimately rest remains to be seen, but it is logical to infer that the alcohol laws in Thailand may be altered in the near future. Such changes seem unlikely to be as stringent as the recently proposed rules, but some form of regulatory change may be on the horizon.

Failure to comply with relevant regulations regarding alcohol sales could result in civil and criminal penalties for individuals and companies in Thailand. As of the time of this writing this blogger has been made aware of numerous anecdotes noting heightened police presence in entertainment areas in an effort to suppress alcohol sales during the Buddhist holidays. Thai authorities take violations of alcohol regulations seriously and this is especially the case during major Buddhist holidays in Thailand. Those establishments violating alcohol regulations could see their Thai alcohol licenses suspended or even rescinded depending upon the circumstances of the situation. Liquor sales in Thailand are often a significant component of a restaurant or entertainment venue’s revenue and therefore complying with relevant regulations could prove vital to such businesses in Thailand.

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