It was déjà vu all over again as Pattaya fell silent under the second night-time curfew in a year, bringing utter still to an already quiet city.
From Beach Road to Third Road, South to North Road, streets emptied after 9 p.m. July 13, the first official night of the voluntary curfew that, in truth, was hardly voluntary. Police harassed anyone outside before 4 a.m., demanding to know why they weren’t at home, hiding from Covid-19, which many people mocked the government for thinking only comes out after dark.
Motorcycle-taxi driver Anurak got a rush of business after 8 p.m. as people scrambled to get home and avoid hassles, but his overall income is taking another hit. Anuruk said he used to make up to 1,000 baht a day in the “before times” but now was lucky to earn 300.
The ”voluntary” stay-at-home order differs from 2020’s hard curfew, which carried stiff fines and even jail time for violators. It shows how little progress Thailand has made against the coronavirus pandemic, with the country basically in the same dire situation as a year ago, even though a solution – Covid-19 vaccines – have been available for eight months.
Pattaya resident Jenjura said she supports the stay-at-home order, but believes it should have been introduced at the same time as a compensatory relief program for those put out of work by the pandemic and the government restrictions.
She said there will be no end to the restrictions until enough people are vaccinated and the government is doing a poor job of obtaining enough vaccines.