For anyone who has been in Thailand during the last twelve months, you won’t need to be told that it is a lot quieter than usual. The absence of foreign tourists has given Pattaya the opportunity to take stock, with the beaches and sea cleaner now than they have been for years. A drive along the usually packed Beach Road or Pattaya Second Road will take a fraction of the time it would in the past, while Central Festival and Terminal 21 are also eerily quiet.
It is now a legal requirement to wear face masks in public with fines ranging from THB6,000 to THB20,000 for failing to comply. For most of us, they are now just a fact of life and something that we don’t think too much about. However, it is strange seeing people with white mouths, noses, and chins! Once the max vaccinations start and instances start to reduce, it is anticipated that the rules will be eased somewhat, especially in outdoor spaces.
Shops & Markets
Many shops and markets now take your temperature before allowing you to enter, which is generally accepted. Social distancing isn’t always adhered to as much as it could be, but in the local shops, in particular, it is pretty much business as usual, although with fewer customers. Sadly, like any other business, many shops have closed, and some market holders have returned “upcountry”. It means that if you aren’t in Pattaya at present, you may notice some of your favorite places missing from the Pattaya landscape when you return.
Bars & Restaurants
It is perhaps not surprising, but bars and restaurants were the first to be shut down by the lockdown with a ban on the sale of alcohol. Several restaurants now offer a takeaway and delivery service, so the impact on their business has been lessened, but most of us are missing the dining out experience, not to mention meeting up with friends in our favorite bars. Perhaps more than most, Bars and restaurants will need our support when places start to reopen with the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you lose it” rings very true.
During the first wave, much of the building and construction work around the city was stopped. However, from the end of 2020, most of it has resumed, and while not at the levels it was 18 months ago, it is apparent that developers are still planning very much for life after the pandemic. Confidence clearly remains high, and most feel that we are now beginning to genuinely see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For anyone who has been down Walking Street recently, you will notice that a significant amount of work has been done to remove the overhead wires that were very much an eyesore. It would have proved difficult when all businesses were open, so we can only hope that the majority of the work is completed soon. Rumors continue to fly around that the building on the beachside of Walking Street will be demolished as they are “illegal”, but this has been ongoing for the last decade.