In case you haven’t noticed, Songkran has come and gone without a single bucket of ice water being thrown on any unsuspecting passersby, and the reasons are many.
The annual Thai New Year and corresponding water wars were just one of many cancellations and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic (details inside).
There is an ancient Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times.” This fits perfectly for the beginning of 2020. Pattaya is currently in a form of lockdown. Koh Larn has shut itself off to the world to battle covid-19.
Beaches are closed. With businesses closed en masse putting thousands of people out of work, food lines have sprung up, almost all being organized and supplied by benevolent people, both Thai and foreign. People are required to wear facemasks at all times, wash their hands regularly, and keep at least two meters away from all others.
This is not easy when standing in a crowded food line. A nighttime curfew is in effect and it has turned Pattaya into a nighttime ghost town. If that wasn’t enough, we are in the throes of an increasingly severe drought (one more good reason the water-wasting Songkran was canceled).
The cherry on the depressing cake for many was the complete ban on alcohol sales and distribution, making it illegal even to have more than just a few friends over for a tipple.
Finally, though, there might be light at the end of the tunnel. At the time of this writing, no new covid-19 cases were reported in Chonburi and the governor has come out to say – if the trend continues, some of the restrictions might be lifted May 1st. Time will tell.