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Bangkok’s Union Mall will close until May 27, casualty of Covid-19

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Union Mall in Bangkok will be closing until at least May 27 due to Covid-19. (via Wikimedia)

In another sign of Thailand’s Covid-19 battered economy, the Union Mall in Bangkok has announced that it will close temporarily, purportedly for Covid-19 safety but likely because of a lack of customers during the pandemic. The mall, in Ladprao opposite the Central Ladprao shopping mall, took to Facebook this week to announce that they were closing.

Mall management made an exception for food vendors, announcing that restaurants and food service businesses inside could continue to operate. But in-person dining will not be allowed and the businesses could cook food only for pick-up takeaway or delivery service.

The mall made a statement announcing the mall will be closed from now until at least May 27, but the closure may be extended further in future announcements. They stated that the decision was made to close the mall to help prevent any outbreaks or spread of Covid-19. The move would give businesses renting stores inside the mall a rest from worrying about running a business during the pandemic and risking infection, and also give them a break on rental expenses for a bit.

But altruism aside, the Union Mall will also close because it just doesn’t have the patronage to sustain operation as the pandemic rages on. Before Covid-19, the mall was a popular hangout spot for young hip mallrats shopping for the latest fashions. But for the last year, shops and promenades have been mostly empty, a ghost town beaten down by the pandemic.

In the announcement to close, the mall management shared a letter from a frustrated shop-owner, lamenting the plight of businesses renting stores during an unrelenting pandemic. He complained that the economy began to look better a few times, but was repeatedly dashed by another Covid-19 wave. An end is still not in sight in an uncertain pandemic, and the business owner pointed out that people can start getting jabs, but there’s no vaccine to immunise small businesses that don’t have the savings to keep fighting as the customerless months drag on.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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