Boxing gyms in Pattaya have lost a significant amount of income due to recent closure orders as a part of health policy to prevent the domestic spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, according to local business owners.
Boxing trainer and gym owner Kovit Phumsanit, 39, told The Pattaya News that he has lost a large amount of income due to the government order of the closure of all boxing stadiums, gyms, training camps, fitness centers, exercise venues, and others after Chonburi became one of five “highly controlled” provinces due to a cluster of Covid-19 infections discovered in the province, primarily traced from illegal gambling. Kovit also said that the order has now gone on for two weeks but there have been no official announcements of aid or support for business owners and their employees affected by the closure, which he says was not the fault of gyms or fitness centers.
Kovit told a Pattaya News reporter “The camp is facing a lot of economic and business problems due to the temporary closure. Boxers cannot practice boxing, members cannot come to study and the boxing-related equipment also has to stop selling resulting in the lack of income to pay rent, water, and electricity bills. Meanwhile, although the government has said they will find a way to help people we have yet to see any concrete plans as the business remains closed in an already very difficult time due to lack of foreign tourists who used to be major visitors to the camp and gyms.”
“Some boxers are still staying at the camp because many of them cannot return to their hometown, worrying that they could bring the virus to their family members at home. This is also because of travel-related restrictions in effect for Chonburi due to being classified as a high-risk province.” Kovit continued.
Kovit also mentioned that during the previous national lockdown during the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020 in which he had to shut down his business for 3 months but still had to pay the rent and other expenses. However, when they could reopen the business again, there were very few customers as there were no foreign tourists coming to the country. The essential ban on foreign tourists and closure of borders (without going through long quarantines, paperwork, and other hoops) is still in effect almost a year later. Kovit claims that gym owners, despite utilizing every possible precaution against Covid-19, keep being unfairly closed.
“Because this is a boxing camp in Pattaya, almost 100 percent of the students are foreign tourists and ex-pats. It has been a very difficult time for our business. When we were about to gather some of the local students, the second outbreak of a cluster of infections took place, causing our business to be in a lot of trouble. Our landlord and other debtors are still requiring us to pay, yet we cannot legally open despite being willing to comply with every health measure. We often only have a few students present but markets and restaurants I walk by seem to have dozens of people and I am not allowed to make a living and pay my staff and feed my family just because of the business I am in.” he stated.
He, therefore, urged the government to find ways to solve problems to allow the boxing camp to re-operate for some of the students and the camp is always ready to strictly follow the health measures announced by the public health ministry. If this is not possible, he stated that financial aid must be given by the government for the forced closure to affected owners who are closed through no fault of their own.
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