With the government extending its emergency decree for yet another month, Pattaya’s stable of bar, pub and entertainment workers increasingly are leaving the city for the provinces, some never to return.
The extension of the decree until June 30 was announced Friday, giving the government extraordinary powers to clamp down on businesses and personal freedom. Despite the fact Thailand has reported only a handful of coronavirus cases a day – in some cases none – for weeks, the government tried to justify the extension saying it needed the extra time for the final two phases of the country’s reopening.
For much of Pattaya’s population, which relies on the tourism, service and entertainment sectors, it was another notice that their pain will continue. “High-risk” venues, such as bars, movie theaters and massage parlors cannot reopen until the third or even fourth phases, which may be weeks away.
Pattaya is too expensive for those with no income to stay, a fact illustrated daily by huge lines for free food handouts. Many have already left the city for farms and rural homes in Issan and the North where they can live much more cheaply.
Run, a service-sector worker, said the economic impact goes beyond just direct employees, such as bartenders or tour guides. It hits companies and people servicing them, from motorcycle taxis to restaurants. Owners of the low-rent apartments where those workers lived also are hurting now, as many of their rooms have been vacated.