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Reopening Pattaya: Will it happen next week or not?

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PHOTO: Pattaya is pushing to reopen October 1, but there has been no official decision. (via flickr)

Depending on which government officials you are listening to and what statement they make on which day, it would be easy to believe that Thailand’s reopening is continuing on October 1, or October 15, or possibly November 1. And Pattaya is perhaps reopening in just over a week or perhaps delaying for weeks or months. So where does the reopening plan actually stand?

As of now, there are no official reopening plans, though many have been stated and put forward but not officially ratified. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is meeting today with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health, and other relevant agencies.

The meeting is expected to propose a policy that will spend the weekend being discussed and fine-tuned before a major meeting this coming Monday. At that meeting, the final details of reopening are hoped to be hashed out, including things like curfews, entertainment venues, the future of the Emergency Decree, and zone classifications for the region.

An official reopening announcement would likely come later in the week, as they often come only a day or two before the actual launch.

While the Governor of the TAT said yesterday that tourism areas will delay their reopening until November in order to hit vaccination targets, Pattaya has already reached that target and the Mayor of Pattaya City has been steadfast in their readiness to open.

Pattaya is further along in meeting reopening requirements than any of the other areas that were slated to reopen on October 1. But there’s a chance that its reopening could be delayed until all 5 of the planned reopening provinces of Chon Buri, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Cha-am, and Hua Hun are ready to reopen together.

Many people that work in the Pattaya tourism industry including officials have also been hesitant the push for an international reopening for fears that it will scare away domestic tourism which may provide bigger numbers and revenue than a trickle of a Sandbox reopening. Chiang Mai has been discussing similar issues.

The President of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association has addressed the concerns of local residents who are resistant to the risk of reopening to foreign travellers, especially without quarantine. He stressed that knee-jerk responses to Covid-19 outbreaks such as closing businesses, killing nightlife, and implementing widespread lockdowns, may curb infection numbers temporarily, but are not a long-term solution.

He pointed out that Pattaya is now nearly 70% vaccinated  and that Covid-19 infections in vaccinated people are much more likely to be mild or asymptomatic. The president of the PTBA argued that the economic devastation Pattaya has suffered, especially in the tourism business that powers much of the region, must be addressed and action must be taken.

“Vaccination is clearly the answer, as is living with Covid-19, we must move forward and not look backwards to lockdowns and restrictions to welcome back tourists.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News, 2

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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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