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Over 80% of massage shops in Pattaya closed “permanently”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: smalljude

The Eastern Spa and Wellness Associations says 80% of massage shops in Pattaya have closed forever, with fewer than 100 still able to operate. Speaking to the Pattaya News, the association’s president, Chairat Ratananophas, says the remaining businesses need financial support and clarity on when they can re-open.

Currently, Covid-19 restrictions in the eastern province of Chon Buri mean massage shops, spas, saunas, and all other wellness venues have been closed for nearly 2 months. Chairat says that prior to the pandemic, there were around 400 licenced massage shops and spas in Pattaya. There are now fewer than 100, but he says some of the ones considered permanently shut could still return – if the tourists do. Until then, the association considers them permanently closed.

In late 2020, many of Pattaya’s massage shops were getting some business from domestic tourists and local expats. However, this year’s resurgence of Covid-19 and the forced closures that followed, was the final nail in the coffin for many owners, who’ve had no choice but to give up and return to their home provinces.

According to Chairat, many in the business do have faith that once tourists return, this will improve significantly, particularly once vaccinated foreign tourists can enter without quarantine. However, he says that until then, businesses need urgent help to ensure they’re still around to serve visiting tourists.

He is calling on the government to provide clarity on how long the current closures might last, and a roadmap out of the restrictions. In addition, wellness businesses and their workers need financial support, which Chairat says has been insufficient to date. Finally, he wants a clear timetable for the return of foreign tourists to Pattaya, including prioritising wellness employees for vaccination against Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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