Pattaya ‘curfew’ déjà vu all over again

Lights shine bright at the corner of Central and Beach Roads, while everyone is ‘supposedly’ tucked safely in their beds at home.

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.

A lone policeman patrols South Pattaya Road in front of Wat Chai Mongkol all-night market as some shops remain open, but there are no customers.

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.

Foodland the bustling 24-hour supermarket on Central Road is locked up and barricaded during the curfew hours.

It seems like the pedestrian crossing light is on perpetual green all night long on Beach Road, but no pedestrians to cross the road.
A lone police pickup truck is parked on Beach Road looking for anyone breaking the ‘stay at home’ order.

North Pattaya Road and Terminal 21 with its iconic passenger airplane in front are totally deserted during the restricted hours.
Wat Chai Mongkol market shopkeepers and late-night shoppers hurry to get home before the bewitching hour.

Convenience stores must also close during the ‘voluntary curfew’.
South Pattaya Road has never so quiet as it is now during the curfew hours.