The group, calling themselves the “COVID-19 affected people club”, carried placards urging the Prime Minister and other leading officials to help.
The petition submitted today featured about 4,600 signatures, said Thipsukhon Thongtan, president of the club.
The petition requested the government take action in three specific areas to help support businesses suffering during the current economic crisis
The first action requested was to provide more support through soft loans.
“We want relevant officers to change the criteria for soft loans, as at this stage a lot of affected people cannot fulfill the criteria. Additionally, we want low-interest loans free from repayments for at least one year,” Ms Thipsukhon explained.
The second request was for a moratorium on all outstanding bank loans and a guarantee that that property will not be seized for failing to make repayments.
“We want relevant officers to order financial institutions, and finance companies that are and are not under the control of the Bank of Thailand, to extend the period for repaying loans for one year and to exempt [COVID-affected business] from property seizures,” Ms Thipsukhon added.
“Therefore, business owners will still have their accommodations and equipment to run their business in order to make income and pay taxes,” she said.
The third request was for top-level support in creating a good image of Phuket and build confidence of tourism on the island.
“We want the Phuket Government to promote a good image of Phuket, especially in terms of safety, in order to attract more tourists,” Ms Thipsukhon explained.
The petition today was addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Deputy Prime Ministers, and other relevant Ministers.
Another petition of about 5,000 signatures will be submitted later, addressed to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics, Monetary, and Finance, Ms Thipsukhon said.
“We also plan to go to Parliament next week,” she added.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew met the group and received the petition, and invited the group inside Provincial Hall to continue talks.
“We [the Phuket Government] will solve the problems that we can under our authority, but for the bigger issues such as tax and soft loans, we will inform the higher levels [of government],” Governor Narong said.
“On behalf of the Phuket Government, I have to thank the club for informing us about the problems, and we will solve them together as best we can,” he added.