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Pandemic dims lights on Thailand's $5bn nightlife sector

Government plans aid for bars and restaurants, but recovery prospects uncertain

The coronavirus has brought Bangkok's world-famous nightlife to a pause.  (Photo by Akira Kodaka) 

BANGKOK -- These are hard times for Thailand's vaunted nightlife industry.

Nightclubs and bars, which contribute more than $5.5 billion a year to the overall economy, are the country's hidden "dollar box." But regulations that went into effect in late March to halt the spread of the new coronavirus are delivering a body blow to establishments, with cries of despair increasingly heard from proprietors.

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