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

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.

“The coronavirus is going to kill the bar business,” said Nutthapon, a 37-year-old manager of one establishment in Bangkok. From March 22, restaurants in the city’s greater metropolitan area were banned from offering anything other than

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