Bars & EntertainmentRules and Law

Entertainment Venues ‘Must Be 500 metres Away From Specific Places’

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has imposed a new regulation which requires places of entertainment to be located 500 metres or more from educational institutions, hospitals, government offices, and international organisations.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith recently inked the 23-page Government Decree No. 315 detailing the criteria that an entertainment venue must meet.

Such places, which include discotheques, nightclubs, bars, and karaoke clubs, must also be at least 500 metres from religious sites, monuments, ancient and sacred places, caves and other revered locations, according to the decree.

Leisure facilities that are close to the places specified above are subject to relocation.
The decree was issued after the government cabinet agreed to it at its monthly meeting, which entrusted the relevant sectors to draw up the decree.

Government spokesman Prof. Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher had previously told local media the cabinet agreed that the pilot scheme must be applied to educational institutions, which means places of entertainment must be 500 metres from schools, colleges, and university campuses.

Minister of Education and Sports Mrs Sengdeuan Lachanthaboun told the ongoing 4th ordinary session of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature that a pilot scheme is now being carried out at the National University of Laos. Authorities in charge have set a target to remove all recreational facilities to a distance of at least 500 metres from the university by December, she said.

Under the new decree, entertainment venues are required to strictly observe the opening and closing times, which are typically a 6pm opening time and a closing time of midnight.

Karaoke bars and concert rooms are required to open at 9pm and close by midnight.

These businesses must use quality construction materials to ensure safety and prevent noise from disturbing nearby communities. Construction must also meet safety standards.

Entry and other prices must be reasonable and all forms of pornography are prohibited. Venues must be smoke-free, drug-free, weapon-free, and gambling-free. Any activity, action or service that violates the country’s regulations and laws is prohibited.

Waiters, waitresses and customers must be at least 18 years old.

Any party violating the decree will face measures and penalties in keeping with the severity of the violation.

The first violation that causes damage or injury will incur a maximum fine of one million kip with additional payment for the cost of repairing damaged property or the treatment of injuries.

The second violation will result in the business’s operations being suspended for five months and a maximum fine of 5 million kip and additional payment for damage repairs or the treatment of injuries.

The third violation will see the business shut down and the operator’s business licence permanently revoked. The wrongdoer will be fined a maximum of 10 million kip with additional payment to cover the cost of damage or treatment of injuries.

The Law on Alcoholic Beverages, which was promulgated a few years ago, prohibits entertainment venues from locating near these places.

But the law does not specify how far the venues should be away from these places. The new decree translates the law in details to ease implementation.


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