With Pattaya’s restaurants, market and food stalls now selling alcohol while bars remain closed, pubs have started adding kitchens and bargirls have turned to waitressing.
May, 28, has worked in Pattaya’s bars for eight years, but has been out of work since mid-March. But she still has foreign “sponsors” sending her cash and has been selling off her luxury shoes and handbags to get by.
May rode high for years, earning many times more as a bargirl than what other Thais make in a month. Covid-19 has been the great equalizer. With her revenue stream cut off, she’s now looking at a life as a waitress, at least until the bars reopen and tourists return.
Thanet Supornsahatrangsi, president of the Chonburi Tourism Council, said Thailand will be making do with domestic tourists for the foreseeable future. The government is launching measures to subsidize travel by Thai families and medical workers starting in July.
That’s not going to help May, but it has made her explore other ways to make a living.