Mr. Chawin Sirinak, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), revealed that during the long national holidays of Songkran Thai New Year for six days starting from April 10 to 15, 2021, many people usually went back to their hometown to visit their families. This was considered a long vacation during which people frequently drink alcoholic beverages to celebrate the holidays. This led to many quarrels and road accidents which resulted in the high number of deaths. In this regard, the BMA had a policy on “Bangkok Songkran Festival is safe and free from alcoholic beverages”. All 50 district offices and relevant organizations were assigned to strictly inspect and monitor the celebrations of Songkran Thai New Year in the area of Bangkok Metropolis to be safe and free from alcoholic beverages. In addition, with the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic, the BMA Alcohol Control Committee of the BMA Health Department had set methods for alcohol control during the 2021 Songkran Thai New Year festival in order to prevent and reduce impacts from drinking alcoholic beverages, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and reduce road accidents (Free Alcohol, Free Covid-19) by integrating cooperation among relevant organizations both public and private including civic sector.
The methods for alcohol control during the 2021 Songkran Thai New Year festival comprises the following 3 main measures. The first measure is to request for public cooperation in promoting the organization of Songkran Thai New Year events and activities in accordance with Thai tradition and culture. Event venues must be free from alcohol and organization of events must follow the preventive measures against COVID-19. There shall be campaigns and public relations on methods for alcohol control during the 2021 Songkran Thai New Year festival to prevent and reduce road accidents with the theme of “Don’t Drink and Drive” and to restrict the access to alcoholic beverages according to the Alcohol Control Act, B.E. 2551 (2008) and other related laws. The second measure is law enforcement highlighting the strict control, namely, it is prohibited to sell alcohol beverages to anyone under the age of 20; to sell alcoholic beverage in the form of discounts, bartering, exchanging, giveaways or premiums; to offer the rights to attend any performances, sweepstakes, draws, and competitions for prizes and awards; and to advertise alcoholic beverage or show the name or logo of alcoholic beverage with the aim to boast its qualities and persuade people to drink. Regarding the permission to organize any events and activities during Songkran Thai New Year festival, conditions are applied to event organizers and those who request for permission to host event and activity. It must be traditional Songkran Thai New Year event and activity with stringent measures on alcohol control and strict compliance with the related laws, adhering to the principles for COVID-19 surveillance and prevention. The third measure is cooperation with network partners in the area of Bangkok Metropolis by working in collaboration with relevant organizations in locality such as metropolitan police stations, excise offices, and district road safety administration centers of 50 districts to monitor the advertisement, sales, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the venues organizing traditional Songkran Thai New Year events and activities.
On this occasion, the BMA requests for kind cooperation from organizations and the public to follow the above-mentioned measures and strictly comply with related laws, especially in the places where traditional Songkran Thai New Year events and activities are held.