Thailand may be aiming to reopen to foreign tourists without coronavirus restrictions by Oct., but that 120 days may be a death sentence for many Pattaya businesses.
Chairat Rattanopat, president of the Pattaya Wellness and Spa Club, said 120 days – the deadline set by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to reopen the country – may be too late for massage parlors, health spas, bars and other businesses dependent on foreign tourism.
More than 80 percent of the city’s service businesses have closed, many permanently, he said. Waiting another four months may not be possible.
Sutthida, a masseuse doing foot massages in Pattaya, said June 19 that she returned to Pattaya because even though living costs are less in Issan, there are no jobs. She doesn’t earn a lot in Pattaya – 400-500 baht a day at best – but it’s better than nothing, she said.
The key to reopening will be Covid-19 vaccination of the public. Pattaya can only reopen if 70 percent of the city is vaccinated, but so far, only a relative handful of people have been inoculated.
Chairat said the pace of vaccinations would have to increase exponentially if Pattaya is to meet its reopening goal by October.