Pattaya convenience stores now close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. amid fears of increased crime and spread of the coronavirus.
Family Mart, 7-Eleven, Tesco-Lotus Express, Big C Mini and mom-and-pop stores all shut down March 27 at 10 p.m. following the city hall order, leaving prospective customers confused and frustrated.
The move comes a day after a 7-Elleven on Soi Land Transport was robbed at 4:30 a.m. Police and city officials are worried that the city’s economic downturn will spark an increase in crime.
Police are scrambling to install real-time alarm systems in about 160 Pattaya gold shops and bank branches.
While convenience stores must close, restaurants, noodle shops and street carts were allowed to remain open, as well as pharmacies.
One restaurateur, identified only as Ton, said he is strictly following new regulations on spacing tables a meter apart and not selling alcohol. He said business is bad anytime, but especially after 10 p.m., a change from when Pattaya partied all night in its hundreds of bars, which are now closed.
“I am very disheartened but I have to fight on,” he said. “A little business is better than no business at all. My expenses every month still have to be paid. Shop rental, water and electric and staff.”
Despite it all, Ton remains hopeful. “I am confident that we will get through this crisis sooner or later and that Pattaya will return to our heyday as a prime tourist and business city again very soon.”