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Patong COVID shutdown costing B100mn a day: PEBA President

Patong COVID shutdown costing B100mn a day: PEBA President

PHUKET: Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA), has estimated that the forced 14-day shutdown of entertainment venues in Patong to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is costing the island an estimated B100 million a day in lost revenues.

By Khunanya Wanchanwet

Thursday 19 March 2020, 06:14PM

A lone tourist walks past the end of Bangla Rd near Patong Beach yesterday (Mar 18). photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A lone tourist walks past the end of Bangla Rd near Patong Beach yesterday (Mar 18). photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The shutdown, announced by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana late Tuesday night (see story here), come into effect yesterday, leaving the usually busy Bangla Rd shrouded in darkness.

PEBA members will meet up later to discuss this order because being closed for 14 days is affecting a wide range of tourism-related businesses,” Mr Weerawit told The Phuket News.

The amount of economic damage to Patong entertainment venues alone is at least B100 million a day,” he added.

Mr Weerawit argued that Phuket should not be subjected to the same level of constraint as other places in the country due to the island’s reliance on tourism.

The Cabinet resolution on Tuesday gave provincial governors discretion in how to enforce the health provisions regarding COVID-19.

Phuket Govenor Phakaphong in announcing the shutdown said he was just following what others were doing and that Phuket should not be an exception.

In Pattaya, officials have ordered all bars to close but allowed restaurants to stay open as long as they obey specific requirements, such as patrons keeping at least one metre distance from each other.

Patong cannot use the same policies as in central Thailand,” Mr Weerawit said. “I will send a letter to Phuket Governor insisting this simple for the reason that Phuket province is different from other provinces.

Here is a tourism province. If any service is closed for a long time, it will have a big impact on the economy and a lot of people, "Mr Wirawit added.

Patong business magnate and President of Patong Development Foundation Preechavude “Prab” Keesin was more accepting of the shut down.

I understand the order for all entertainment venues to close to prevent the spread of the disease. We have to accept the unavoidable impacts of the measure,” he told The Phuket News.

Some governments have already shut down their whole countries, while others have shut down only some cities,” he said.

But I am worried about the people who work for entertainment venues. They were paid day to day, and are directly and immediately affected by this order. I wonder how long they can live on whatever money they have set aside,” Mr Preechavude said.

Along Bangla Rd yesterday (Mar 18), not only were bars closed, but also restaurants, convenience stores, and small stalls selling food and water.

Some bars in side streets had signs saying closed due to COVID-19 and that will open early next month. One sign said the venue would re-open in September, Others simply said, “Closed.”

Bar staff on Bangla Rd that The Phuket News spoke to said they already had been paid for the days worked so far this month, but they have lost their jobs.

“Now we are waiting for [termination of employment] compensation from our employer, and then we will go back home to other provinces,” one staffer said.

The group of now-former bar staff then hugged each other and took photos for the memories, then walked off.

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Yeti_SA | 20 March 2020 - 13:48:10

My heart goes out to all the people of Phuket and other islands that rely on tourism for income, this is a sad time, stay strong and know that we will recover and come back stronger and before you know it your lovely island will be bustling with tourism again.

dennisgill67 | 20 March 2020 - 11:39:35

As a regular to patong with my partner we feel sorry for the small businesses in Bangla rd and surrounds. They do it hard already so we hope there government can help them as other governments are trying to help there countries

Capricornball | 20 March 2020 - 01:31:16

Mr Weerawit couldn't care less about anything other than baht, and this moron typically can't look into the future for what is best...he wants baht NOW. If they are losing 100 Mil/day, then there should be ample funds from him and his cronies to help support the peons that make crap while they make millions. This guy needs to shut up and stay home like everyone else.

Fascinated | 19 March 2020 - 23:04:04

'Patong is different' Profit over health-what a moron. he's not worried about employees he;s worried about his bottom line.

Kurt | 19 March 2020 - 20:21:15

That mr Weerawit doesn't understand what is world wide happening virus wise. To think about excluding Phuket of this world happening is simply dumb and selfish ignorant. He doesn't understand that it is nor about policies, but about of the health of people , also on Phuket. Complete of the world, that man. Guess he loose daily a lot of money himself.


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