Huaphan to delay enforcement of restrictions on lavish parties

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Huaphan province authorities may take two months to put the provincial Governor’s decision concerning the scaling down of parties, celebrations, and traditional festivities into effect.

The province’s move in this regard follows the government’s introduction of a policy of austerity in a bid to prevent extravagance, as well as encouraging good hygiene and the conservation of traditional customs.

The Head of Office of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on March 10 issued an announcement instructing government officials, businesses and the general public nationwide to temporarily refrain from or postpone travel to outbreak countries and also asking people from these countries not to visit Laos. The announcement also called for the postponement or cancellation of all traditional events, including festivals and wedding parties, at which a lot of people would be present, to prevent the spread of the virus.

Deputy Director of Huaphan’s Department of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Phouvanh Phetmixay, told Vientiane Times about Huaphan’s delayed rollout of the plan yesterday after the government’s decision was published in the Lao Official Gazette.

“We [provincial authorities] may take two months to disseminate the decision fully,” Mr Phouvanh said, following the publication of the decision on the government website on March 3.

Huaphan province Governor Mr Vanxay Phengsoumma on November 14, 2019, issued a decision on the management of weddings, baci ceremonies, receptions, and traditional festivities.

According to Mr Phouvanh, after receiving approval from the provincial People’s Council, the decision was submitted to the government for consideration about two months ago.

According to the Law on Making Legislation, any law or regulation will take effect 15 days after being uploaded to the Lao Official Gazette website. The deputy director pointed to other regional regulations, which were able to take effect straight after being issued, but said more time was needed to disseminate this new regulation. “This decision relates to local customs so we need more time to inform people while also gathering feedback,” Mr Phouvanh said.

The decision includes a prohibition on organising extravagant weddings, baci ceremonies, and traditional festivals, which focus on making money and highlighting people’s social status and influence. The decision stipulates that such events should not be large scale or annoy other people, including passing motorists. The decision prohibits the use of harmful toxic ingredients along with foam and plastic food packaging. The noise emanating from wedding parties, baci ceremonies, receptions and festivitals should not exceed 85 decibels.

According to the decision, entertainment is limited to three hours for a wedding party, which should finish by 10.30 pm. Wedding party hosts should deliver no more than 600 invitations.

The decision also prohibits the payment of dowries of over 30 grams of gold or 10 million kip in cash, while wedding parades should be culturally appropriate.

The throwing of flower bouquets by brides or grooms to guests is also forbidden under the new provincial regulations. Mr Phouvanh said authorities were concerned about promoting the wrong values, with many people facing financial difficulties after hosting lavish parties.

If successful, Huaphan will be a model for the implementation of the government’s anti-extravagance policy nationwide. The Head of Office of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on March 10 issued an announcement instructing government officials, businesses and the general public to temporarily refrain from or postpone travel to outbreak countries and also asking people from these countries not to visit Laos. The announcement also called for the postponement or cancellation of all traditional events, including wedding parties, at which a lot of people would be present, to prevent the spread of the virus.

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