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Patong’s Bangla nightlife area faces darkest hour

Patong’s Bangla nightlife area faces darkest hour

PHUKET: As daily life edges towards resembling normality, bars, pubs and entertainment venues yesterday were not included in Phase 4 of the government’s lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Saturday 13 June 2020, 10:09AM

The decimated tourism industry, very much the lifeblood of entertainment venues, has had, and will continue to have, a hugely detrimental effect. Even with Phuket airport reopening to domestic flights today (June 13), it remains closed to international visitors and, even when open, there is bound to be trepidation for many to travel in the immediate future.

The closure of entertainment venues in Patong alone is estimated to have costed Phuket B100 million a day in lost revenues, according to Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA).

“We don’t think we are ready to open,” said Mr Weerawit. “Almost 100% of the customers in the Patong entertainment area are foreigners and overseas tourists. We don’t think Thai people will visit entertainment venues in Patong.”

When asked how much the lockdown has cost business owners in Phuket’s entertainment industry, Mr Weerawit replied: “It cannot be estimated. It is a lot. For example, a small bar would have lost about B300,000 per month; a medium business up to a million per month and larger businesses about 20-30 million per month.

“More than a thousand staff have lost their jobs and we will know how many businesses have gone bankrupt in the next month.

“Many operators are also reluctant to open while they have to pay full rental costs,” he added.

A major sticking point is that Bangla Rd is still the only place under lockdown in Phuket, despite the national nighttime curfew to be lifted on Monday (June 15) and while alcohol from Monday can be served at restaurants.

‘Challenging times’

Government assistance is key to helping businesses find their feet again and to stand a chance of future survival, insisted Mr Weerawit.

“The Phuket provincial office needs to act as an intermediary and be able to negotiate with the business owner, landlord and banks,” he said.

“They should also have the authority to engage and talk with the Bank of Thailand for tax and fee exception purposes, ideally once bar owners have opened their business for three months.

Internal - Phuket News TV

“We had previously requested a tax discount of B100,000 for businesses but it was set at only B10,000, which is not enough.

“Such measures will help greatly in efforts to survive during these very challenging times,” he stated.

‘A special place’

When asked about his thoughts on the future, Mr Weerawit said he doubts Phuket will be the same again.

“Businesses will come back but I suspect we will see them increasingly replaced by different types of operators. Bangla Rd, for example, will witness more restaurants offering musical entertainment, venues where customers are seated at tables, making it easier to observe social distancing rules.”

Safety measures will be crucial and Mr Weerawit outlined suggestions that he feels need to be employed for when business does resume.

“There needs to be thermal scanning facilities at two points on Bangla Rd to enable tourists to be checked before entering,” he said.

“Additionally, more COVID-19 testing labs in Phuket are required to manage the potential number of tourists. Currently, there is only a lab in Phuket Vachira Hospital which can handle only 400 samples per day, which is insufficient if the tourist numbers resume.”

Despite the unprecedented challenges and inevitable change Mr Weerawit maintains optimism.

“I still believe that Phuket is a special place for tourists and am confident they will, ultimately, return,” he concluded.

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GerryT81 | 17 June 2020 - 14:04:51

Kurt ,there will be no museum. Bangla road will still exist,while you have gone a long time already.

Kurt | 17 June 2020 - 11:00:08

@P, any 'Old Normal' Bangla museum suggestion is welcome. Do we keep closing time as it is now, Illegal, at sunrise? And open 2 hours later, after street cleaning?   :-)

Pascale | 16 June 2020 - 15:33:09

@K    Who would like to buy a ticket from you ? Better to just put the dummy copy of you on a bar stool. 

Kurt | 16 June 2020 - 11:11:56

@P. I am willing to sit dressed like that in the ticket booth, and minus 33% commission hand over daily the ticket fees to who is entitled to get it.  :-)

Pascale | 16 June 2020 - 09:17:02

@K  Regarding Soi Bangla museum.And not forget to put a dummy with flip flops,beach shorts and a Singha shirt covering a beer belly and a picture from you sticking on the dummy's head next to those mannequins. That would make it even more authentic.

Kurt | 15 June 2020 - 14:48:58

Is PEBA a official registered business, with yearly a public auditor tax report according the thai laws? If thai people not visit the Patong entertainment venues, like they do in Pattaya and ChiangMai, than the  Patong rip off prices are to high. Anti rip off advice for foreigners: Visit venues were you see thai customers.

Kurt | 15 June 2020 - 14:30:54

Why not make Phuket Patong Bangla Road an open air museum? To show the OLD NORMAL, the high drink prices, the fake good shops. Put these plastic dressing window mannequins on bar stools. Some plastic puppets of photo self kicking high ranking RTP officers walking that street for showing the 'old safe confidence' to the public. Use the RTP booth for selling museum tickets and no closing tim...

harald | 15 June 2020 - 08:51:19

LALALA exactly so is it, and with the help from the media always helping and supporting criminal goverments and producing media victims like Wilbert made him beleave the numbers from deaths far over the clouds manipulated. good is, the gang in bangkok never did the same with the numers. btw in china too is it a flu virus, what you can see and hear in cctv with the word liúgǎn meaning flu

harald | 14 June 2020 - 21:09:01

Kurt because it is flu. only a new mutadet flu virus and this is not a killer virus. alone in germany 2017 over 25000 people death because of flu and nobody spoke about this number, about 6 times higher than with flu virus covid19 this year. in thailand is for the masses of poor, starving people the goverment with the lockdown and destroing tourism and so on responsible. 

Wilbert | 14 June 2020 - 17:52:52

How stupid can you be to call the lung virus covid-19 an ordinary flu virus. Certainly something like the ordinary Spanish Flu! This highly contagious virus has the same potential, namely millions of fatalities if not contained. See Brazil.

LALALA | 14 June 2020 - 15:10:22

Harald is absolutely correct... corona virus have been found during the seasonal flue since decades, de facto 15percent of flue cases where always a kind of corona virus cases... this virus now is another mutation, nothing else...used by governments all around the world to implement and monitor control measures, creating panic and using it, the majority of the world population are stupid sheep

LALALA | 14 June 2020 - 11:45:55

Rorri... it is not more contagious than the flue given the amount of undetected cases which was proven in many studies around the world... and regarding the healthcare system... if I believe Thai authorities the Thai healthcare system is one of the best in the world but they can not handle 3xxx covid cases...or are they lying again...By the way we have 14k dengue cases in northern Thailand...

Kurt | 14 June 2020 - 11:40:35

@Mr Harald, millions of thai people are now out of jobs, In press we read quite a number of thai are at the brink of starving conditions when it are not the private initiatives to prevent that. How can you continue to call this world wide Pandemic 'just a flu'? World wide people die, and 'recovered' people keep having serious health problems. Perhaps review your stand?

Rorri_2 | 14 June 2020 - 10:01:48

harald, you have missed the whole point, the point is how contagious it is, it has the ability to overwhelm the medical system, if it does then a lot more people die, now, please try and understand.

harald | 13 June 2020 - 23:01:42

@LALALA it´s realy only a normal mutadet flu virus. nothing more, nothing less. but if you tell only corona or covid19 and tell stupid people this is a new dangerous killer virus you can use the flu- as you can see in europe- to transform  a covered dictatorship into a real one. 

ThorFinger | 13 June 2020 - 20:53:25

Stop the BS. The virus is dead so no need at all for masks. Have a plan to manage any outbreaks and open everything back up. Just so dumb. 

DeKaaskopp | 13 June 2020 - 14:55:54

"Make prostitution...more home work via Internet"  Guess that would probably suit your personal interests.Naughty Boy !!!

harald | 13 June 2020 - 13:30:51

again about this flu virus. it is just boring because flu is over here since weeks

LALALA | 13 June 2020 - 13:16:10

As long they lead the sewer directly in the drain it does not really help top upgrade the drains at all.

LALALA | 13 June 2020 - 12:35:42

,New normal' ....LOL....complete BS. This Virus is not more dangerous than the annual flue.

Kurt | 13 June 2020 - 10:45:15

'New Normal' requires safe distance, face masks in night life venues on Phuket. See some western countries and Japan were they did relax these rules. Immediately spiking Covid-19 numbers. Specially in USA.  So, Bangla Road needs to be 'refitted' to complete different concept. Make local prostitution, pardon me, the entertaining ladies/boys business more home work via internet.


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