120 days until reopening may be death sentence for Pattaya businesses

Waiting another 120 days from July 1 to reopen may be a death sentence for many Pattaya businesses.

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.

It’s good to be able to stay open until 11 p.m., but with no customers, it doesn’t much matter.

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.

Chairat Rattanopat (left), Chairman of the Pattaya Wellness and SPA Club, presents a petition to Chonburi Governor Pakarathorn Thienchai asking for information about the Pattaya Move On progress.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said Pattaya had reserved 100,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses from Chulabhorn Royal Academy, but since then has been rather quiet as to when they will arrive.

Foot massage parlors have reopened in Pattaya with little fanfare and an even smaller number of customers.