Pattaya’s months-long lockdown swept away many businesses for good. A protracted second shutdown could clear out the rest.
That was the feeling across Banglamung following Chonburi Province’s order shutting down all non-essential businesses in Banglamung District due to surging coronavirus cases in and around Pattaya.
The order’s duration is indefinite. So is the future of many Pattaya companies.
Chokchai, owner of a cook-to-order food shop on Soi Khopai, was told he can now only sell takeout and delivery orders. But most of his customers were night-time workers in the entertainment trade who now are all out of work again.
Supanat, owner of Kung Pattaya Taxi, makes his money driving tourists to and from Pattaya. Now no one is coming to a locked-down city.
The story was the same across Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. Bar workers again are out of work. Hotels again are empty. Restaurants again are prey to overcharging food-delivery outfits. And despair is palpable.
Several bar owners said they used all their savings to ride out the first lockdown from mid-May until July. Some took out loans they now have to repay. With no income, loans will default and businesses will go under.
Those interviewed said they want the government to step in and provide financial assistance to help them survive the second lockdown. They also want controls on consumer goods to prevent price gouging and hoarding.
If the shutdown lasts only a week or two, the damage will be limited. If not, those who said they survived the first wave may drown in the second.