All Pattaya restaurants now require customers to test negative for Covid-19
In an overwhelming late-night order, the governor of Chonburi demanded that patrons of restaurants of all sizes produce a negative coronavirus test result before entering.
Governor Pakarathorn Thienchai’s arguably unenforceable diktat at the end of January 1 replaced a less restrictive proclamation issued earlier the same day that had spared small restaurants from the onerous unfunded mandate.
Both orders were issued in reaction to the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has now made its way to Chonburi en route to inevitably become the dominant strain in Thailand.
The initial order had only been applied from December 31 to January 31. 2 and demanded that all staff, including entertainers, in restaurants – and the thousands of bars posing as restaurants – be tested daily with rapid antigen kits.
However, guests would only need to produce proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 72 hours or perform an on-site test before entering if the venue routinely served more than 100 people or ‘had l ‘looks busy or crowded’ even without actually serving 100 people.
The new decree, however, removes the deadline – it is now in effect until further notice – and requires all clients, regardless of the size of the location or the client’s vaccination status, to undergo an on-site test or provide proof. from a recent negative test.
Restaurant owners unable or unwilling to foot the bill for testing or having customers wait 15 minutes outside for test results have no choice but to simply shut down.
With extreme measure, Pakarathorn stuck a shiv in the belly of every restaurant owner, employee and artist in Chonburi. The province fought for two months for the right of its sites to sell alcohol, which ultimately pulled them off the revenue carpet.
Now, with an instinctive flick of the pen, the governor has put up a barrier to entry that few customers will be willing to endure. Pakarathorn only has to look at the thousands of empty seats during this weekend’s Pattaya countdown – where only 8% of 2,500 seats were filled on the first two nights – to learn people won’t stand it. unnecessary and unnecessary regulation.
Chonburi, at this point, has only a few dozen documented cases of omicron. And while the number of daily cases has quadrupled to more than 200 over the past week, the increase was expected and easily managed by hospitals across the province.
And, as was pointed out at the start of last year’s outbreak, restaurants are an extremely minor contributor to the coronavirus wave. Tourism officials noted last year that only 3% of cases were then linked to restaurants. But now, as then, the food and beverage industry is going to take 100% of the blow.