City Hall Swings Back Around on Discotheque Reopenings

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City Hall said KTVs and discotheques can reopen in Phnom Penh, a reversal from a Monday directive preventing their reopening till December 5. (Hun Sen’s Twitter)

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration announced the reopening of discotheques from tonight, overriding its Monday decision that they remain closed for another week amid precautions surrounding Covid-19 Omicron.

The country is banning flights from 10 southern African countries amid the emergence of the new variant, which appears to be highly transmissible, though possibly less deadly. Scientists say they will need a couple more weeks to better understand its dangers.

On Monday, City Hall posted an announcement extending a ban on high-risk activities for seven days until December 5, including nightclubs and KTVs.

But it said on Tuesday that it would allow the reopening of karaokes, nightclubs and discotheques after all from November 30.

The new decision, signed by governor Khoung Sreng, said the owners of nightclubs must have staff at entrances checking for vaccination cards, and strictly follow the Health Ministry’s “three dos and don’ts,” which includes social distancing and avoiding crowds and confined areas.

Temperatures should be checked, hands should be washed, and disinfectant sprays used, it added.

Failure to comply could be punished by the Covid-19 Law, it said.

The country has been in the midst of a reopening as decreed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. All quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers were immediately removed earlier this month, and most restrictions on businesses also lifted.

Nightclubs were among the only businesses yet to be allowed to restart, with Hun Sen saying earlier this month that he was acting out of caution but that Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth had requested their return.

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