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As the Sandbox launches, Patong is left silent and in the dark

As the Sandbox launches, Patong is left silent and in the dark

PHUKET: As the first day of the Phuket Sandbox passed with much fanfare yesterday (July 1), Patong remained in the dark and shrouded in uncertainty with its workers continuing to struggle through lack of income.

By The Phuket News

Friday 2 July 2021, 04:15PM

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Phuket in person yesterday to welcome foreign tourists and left claiming the island should be “proud of their mission for the country.”

“Phuket Sandbox is not only a matter for Phuket residents. It’s about the people of the whole country, so that the country can move forward in accordance with the mission of re-opening the country in 120 days,” he said.

However, business owners and workers in Patong remain cautious and worried, largely due to the fact that most entertainment venues must continue to remain closed.

Phuket Provincial Public Relations Chief Bussaya Chaipeum told The Phuket News Thai-language sister newspaper Khao Phuket today that pubs and bars in all areas of Phuket must remain closed until further provincial orders are issued.

This was not welcome news for the many workers in the nighlife hub of Patong who have struggled with a lack of income as a result of the enforced closures for well over a year.

A woman who wanted to be named only as “Sao” told Khao Phuket that she used to work as a housekeeper in a small guest house in Patong, but she has been unemployed and has not received any income for over a year.

“I have not worked full-time for a year. Now I am doing freelance cleaning work. I accept all offers for work, but there are not many offers at the moment,” Sao said.

She explained that her former employer has still helped her by letting her stay in staff accommodation and providing food. Sao is sharing her accommodation with a co-worker and giving some of her saving to her.

“If I can help other people, I always do,” Sao said. “I cannot stand to see anyone become homeless. When I have problems, they may come and help me. However, today I am satisfied to help others.”

Elsewhere, a masseuse who works for a massage shop in front of Patong beach, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that her income that used to total several thousand baht a day has now become zero. She added that she has been forced to spend her savings and sell her jewellery in order to cover her living costs and survive.

“I have not provided a massage to anyone for over three weeks,” she said.

“There simply are no customers. Before the pandemic and the restrictions I had customers from all over the world and would receive around B500 per massage plus tips.

“I have had to sell all of my gold jewellery and accessories in order to cover basic living costs,” she added.

“When the local administrative organisation opens for registration to receive survival bags, I am one of the people who will not miss the chance. If anyone donates food, I am always in the line to get some because it is a key way to survive.

“I really hope that the sandbox will bring tourists to Phuket so that we can start to earn some income again, even if it is only one or two people per day,” the lady concluded.

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HEIKO | 05 July 2021 - 00:06:35

The problem for the tourists are the COE's. When you apply first for the COE you might get pre-approved after a week, afterwards they give you a 14 day window to book your flight and accomodation. Considering that it takes another week to get the final approval and the COE you have a window of 1 week to plan your trip. People with regular jobs cant do that!

Dave_C | 03 July 2021 - 22:40:27

It is far beyond being grandstanding. This is rather Important. Instead of slagging @ Christy and @Kurt about you feel .why don't you trolls post something constructive to satisfy your ego. Absolute the silent readers realize realize how unconstructive you  are. Just wit to you satisfy tour ego @ematt @maverisck

Christy Sweet | 03 July 2021 - 11:23:23

Patong's prostitution industry is shuttered because using a crap vaccine isn't going to work unless people continue to social distance and use masks.  Thailand would do well to support Novavax production.  This inactive particle with a  94% efficacy, 
 means no ultra cold storage needed, something that restricts usage of  the m-RNA vaccines. It'll be available in September.  

HEIKO | 03 July 2021 - 06:26:20

More people would be visting but the complicated COE combined with the payment to upfront 7,500 Thai Baht for covid testing are the major turn off. The pre-approval takes up to 15 days! Afterwards you have 2 weeks to book a flight and still have to wait a few more business days before the COE is "hopefully" issued. The window to book a flight is smaller than 7 days...

johannesweber | 03 July 2021 - 02:14:06

The Thai government does not want these sleazy sex shops to reopen

Xi_Virus | 02 July 2021 - 20:10:32

The masseuse mentioned that she used to make "several thousands baht" per day. SEVERAL THOUSANDS IN ONE DAY.

A rough calculation of only THB 3000 per day would make THB 1,095,000 per one year. 

She may have a safety box full of GOLD and she is always in the line to get free food. Humm.

Xi_Virus | 02 July 2021 - 19:30:16

A masseuse who used to earn several thousand baht a day!? 
Normal Thai salary is 12000 / month. She must be a Millionaire. 
Normal Thai salary is 12000 / month.

Fascinated | 02 July 2021 - 19:01:03

There's at least one bar on the main drag in Kamala which has NO food service serving beer- I guess a Nelsonian eye is being turned. Clearly not a level playing field for the other bars along the road that remain shut.


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