Chonburi massage workers and operators protest at Chonburi Provincial Hall, asking for reopening of massage shops or adequate financial aid

Chonburi –

A group of area massage workers and operators this morning (August 13th) handed a letter to the Chonburi governor at the Chonburi Provincial Hall asking for the reopening of massage shops or adequate financial aid, claiming that they had little to no aid from the government for continued mandated Covid-19 related closures.

The Chonburi Governor Phakarathorn Teanchai received the letter from massage workers and operators asking for the reopening of massage shops or any possible loosening restrictions and measures for some services in massage shops. Previously, they had been allowed to offer foot massages for about a month by the Governor before being shut once again when Chonburi became a maximum control zone on July 20th.

Massage shops in Chonburi are currently closed following the order from the Chonburi governor to control the spread of the Covid -19 virus. In fact, nearly everything except for food and medicine is closed in Chonburi in terms of public businesses. TPN media notes that, technically, massage shops are considered “high-risk” by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, in Bangkok and are mandated closed in 29 maximum control provinces, including Chonburi, by the CCSA.

Massage workers told the Chonburi governor, “We are suffering from the closure as we have no job and no money for our living and families. We have seen no financial aid from the government, most of us are informal workers and don’t qualify for limited social security plans that have been offered. We did nothing wrong, you never see widespread outbreaks or clusters from massage shops. (TPN media notes that this appears to be mostly correct, with nearly no cases of massage shops traced to Covid-19 timelines in Chonburi) Why can we not open with a few customers a day but factories with thousands of people can still operate for big companies? This is not fair.”

“Our shops have done so much to be safe environments and have stricter precautions against Covid-19 than nearly any other business. We have even offered to wear PPE when working and have still been told we cannot. If we cannot open our business, even with the strictest precautions, we should be getting significant financial aid until we are allowed to open.” The massage workers continued.

“Our main problem is we cannot afford to pay the rent of our massage shops with no income. Most of landlords are not helping us. Thai Massage is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and a protected, valued industry in Thailand. We deserve to be treated as such.”

“We also want the Chonburi governor to issue documents that provide us a moratorium against rent during this period. This will also help save many more businesses from going under. We cannot open, why should we have to pay rent?” The massage owners concluded.

The Governor said he sympathized with the workers and understood their pain, but could not promise any immediate relief or provide a timetable for their opening or financial aid.


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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.