May Day was more like mayday in Pattaya this year, as the usual holiday tourists disappeared amid the latest coronavirus outbreak while businesses from beach chairs to bars closed down.
What should have been a busy, long holiday weekend was instead just more of the same: Empty beaches, empty streets, shuttered businesses.
Restaurants are not allowed to offer dine-in service for at least two weeks. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be sold anywhere except in retail stores, and gatherings are prohibited everywhere. Those not wearing face masks face fines of up to 20,000 baht.
Pattaya beach chair vendor Worapol Muttha on May 2 complained businesses are forced to shut down without compensation from the government.
Worapol said he has been wiped out by the loss of beach visitors and the income from chair rentals and drink sales. He was hoping May Day weekend would see a boom in business. Instead, it’s been a bust.
Soi 6 bars, also forced to closed, are now food stands offering takeout orders. But sales are few.
Boonanan Pattanasin, president of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, decried the business restrictions, saying they unfairly penalized the tourism industry, which was not a contributor to the 40,000 new cases since April 1.
Infections, he said, began in Bangkok entertainment venues and spread in bars and clubs in Chonburi.
He urged the government to find other solutions than closing everything down and refusing to pay compensation to the jobless workers.