BANGKOK -- "Nothing is certain but death and tax," reads the sign above a dimly lit staircase in a small alley on the edge of Bangkok's Chinatown. Other certainties of life include birth, sunrise, and, if you are a bar owner in Thailand, a constant battle with the government's ever-tightening alcohol laws.
With tourism at a standstill and opening hours and lockdowns dictated by officials, the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for Thailand's hospitality industry. The city's many bars, in particular, have had a lot to endure. They saw their home deliveries -- one of the few ways to generate income during lockdown -- come to a halt when the government introduced a blanket ban on alcohol sales in April, and were the last industry branch allowed to reopen, after almost three months of enforced closures, in July.