How is it in Pattaya? What effect has the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic had on fun-town?
The short answer is – global travel restrictions and measures introduced by Thailand’s emergency decree to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have left Pattaya looking like a ghost town. It’s a period which has seen Pattaya starved of its share of the revenue generated by more than ten million annual visitors.
- When can I travel to Thailand again? When will Pattaya be open and back to normal? Get the latest Thailand COVID-19 dates and travel advice on the travel and visa advice page.
Through periods of April and May – when all national and local government restrictions were in place – you were advised to stay at home, wear a mask outside, practice social distancing, be home before curfew begins, show some ID – have a reason for traveling into Pattaya City.
You could not: eat at a restaurant, go to a bar, catch a movie, workout at the gym, attend school, have a haircut, exercise in a public park, shop for anything other than essentials.
In fact all non-essential services and entertainment and nightlife venues – including swimming pools, water parks, and popular tourist attractions and parks were closed.
The beaches were closed
You could not drink alcohol in public
Heck, you were not even allowed to buy alcohol, anywhere!
It must be said though – that if you were merely inconvenienced by the restrictions and closures, you might consider yourself lucky.
The Devastating Effect of COVID-19 in Pattaya
It was early February when Thailand first felt the effect of the coronavirus – after China’s lockdown and travel bans of late January took effect. In Pattaya the result was a mass withdrawal of Chinese tour groups – leaving many attractions, tour and boat operators deprived of their primary income source – Chinese tour groups.
Messages of sympathy and “get well soon” were directed to China in the hope they would soon recover, and return to Pattaya soonest.
From 13 January when Thailand reported its first case of COVID-19 (the first reported case outside of China) to March 11 when the WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic there were about 60 reported cases of COVID-19 in Thailand.
On March 18, all entertainment and nightlife venues in Pattaya – along with those in several other provinces were closed.
On March 26, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand over 900 – the government declared a nationwide state of emergency and put into effect the emergency decree.
What was initially a short term loss of tourist numbers and a temporary 2-weeks closure of nightlife and entertainment venues – just became long term – with increasingly stringent measures which saw the closure of most everything except essential services.
People Lost Their Jobs
Perhaps the lucky ones were sent home with a percentage of their salary, some might have been offered free accommodation plus living expenses, others sent home with nothing more than the promise of their jobs back – if and when the business opens again.
Google search results suggest there are approximately 1000 bars in Pattaya. Even with a conservative average of 6 employees per bar – it equates to 6000 people unemployed. That’s 6000 unemployed bar staff. How many more to include from tourism, entertainment, and non-essential businesses?
The government launched a financial aid program called “No One Left Behind” to help the jobless who were not entitled to social security payments. Unfortunately, the majority also did not qualify for the No One Left Behind program.
They were left behind …….
Who’s Helping the Needy and Homeless People in Pattaya?
What happened next is a little surprising. Rather than bemoan their own desperate plight, their struggle for survival – businesses closed by the emergency decree, including bars and restaurants – started handing out free food to the growing numbers of needy and homeless people in Pattaya.
Of the numerous businesses and individuals, both Thai and foreign, giving free food to the needy – I have singled out the efforts 4 foreign businesses.
What’s really quite touching is the devotion to the cause, the planning, dedication, and the efforts they take to make sure food and supplies gets to those that need it most.
No one gets left behind, really.
Photo credits: Bryan from Night Wish Group, Mark from Hemingways Restaurant & Bar in Jomtien, Tim from the Devonshire Restaurant & Guest House on Soi Lengkee, Tommy Dee from Fabulous 103 FM.
Please, you can help by clicking on the links, liking, sharing with your friends, and if you would like to donate you can also find links to the funding pages.
Fabulous 103 FM
So far, Fabulous 103 have raised well over a million baht.
Besides giving away 2000 bags of food every Friday at Fab 103, donations made to Fabulous 103 are used to buy food and supplies which are then distributed to around another 24 outlets for redistribution to the needy and homeless.
Give the Fabulous 103 FM Facebook page a like, and a share. If you would like to donate you can find the details on the pinned post at the top of their Facebook page alongside an introductory video by Suzi Quatro (remember her – Can The Can).
Night Wish Group
The Night Wish Group owns and operates more than 20 bars in Pattaya. They stand to lose a lot, regardless, they have 2 free food distribution programs for the needy in Pattaya. Every day on Soi 6 they hand-out free food to 1000 people. Also every day they deliver 200 free meals to Pong district in East Pattaya.
For more information, to like and share, click on the link to the Night Wish Facebook page.
Night Wish Group also provided additional food packages and supplies by special request in Pong district, including medical supplies, nappies, kitchen rolls, etc. A team of volunteer nurses helped them seek out needy individuals, including 30 elderly and infirm people, see photo above.
Hemingways – Pattaya Food Bank Program
Besides visiting the poor communities of Pattaya to give food to those most in need – the Pattaya Food Bank Program has also started a new scheme in which it selects needy families and individuals and sponsors them long term.
Mark initially ran this initiative from his Hemingways Facebook page but now uses the Pattaya Food Bank page. That’s where you will find the latest updates and a link to a crowdfunding page started by Paul of Pattaya Central (Facebook page) to help fund the Food Bank Program.
Give the Pattaya Food Bank Facebook page a like and a share.
The Devonshire – Help Pattaya
The Devonshire on Soi Lengkee (Facebook page) was one of the first to start giving free food to the hungry and homeless in Pattaya. They have given out food via food stations on Soi Lengkee, and taken to the streets in search of the homeless – sleeping on the streets and in shop doorways.
On the Devonshire’s Help Pattaya Facebook page you can also see a list of other bars, restaurants, businesses, and organizations in Pattaya who regularly give/gave food.
Give the Help Pattaya Facebook page a like and a share. There’s a pinned post at the top of the page where you can find a link to their crowdfunding page if you want to make a donation.
How Was The COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic For You?
- Are you a tourist stranded in Pattaya?
- Are you abroad, separated from your family?
- Is your business closed or struggling to survive?
- Have your family members lost their job?
Thanks for reading, stay safe, don’t forget your mask!