Pattaya’s bar owners were better prepared for a second coronavirus shutdown, but it has been worse than expected.
So said Damrongkiat Pinitkan, secretary for the Pattaya Entertainment and Tourism Industry Association. In a Jan. 5 interview, he said last year’s Covid-19 outbreak was unlike anything any of his members ever experienced and they didn’t know how to handle it.
This year, members were prepared and knew they had to immediately begin disinfecting and spraying routines, setting up screening points and enforcing social distancing for customers.
Even before Chonburi Province ordered them to, some members, particularly discotheques and big nightclubs, voluntarily closed, aware of the risks of spreading the disease that large crowds posed.
But Thailand’s second wave has hit business faster and harder than before, said Piyanat Sangnak, owner of the Kur Tuen restaurant. Business is down about 60 percent, even though restaurants have not yet been forced to close. Because of the larger number of cases found in Pattaya and Banglamung, people are scared to go out, Piyanat said.
Damrongkiat is optimistic the second wave will end quickly and that Pattaya at some point will return to its old self.
Pattaya is a world-class tourist city and foreigners – both Asians and Europeans – miss coming here and are eager to return, Damrongkiat believes. Once vaccines become widely available, tourist numbers will bounce back.