Business operators have complained over allegedly fake SHA+ certificates issued from Pattaya City, charging expensive fees for the certifications which ended up being, according to officials from other jurisdictions inspecting local businesses, fake and improper. Pattaya City, however, says there was never such a program in place and is investigating.
SHA+, or Safety and Health Administration, is a program in place to primarily provide a checklist and certification for businesses to meet Covid-19 certifications and restrictions, which is essential for many to open.
About 20 business operators in Pattaya went to the Pattaya City Hall yesterday (March 8th). They met with the Pattaya City Deputy Mayor Wuttisak Ruemkitkan with what they said was proof of payments for the certificates. Multiple press accompanied the group who had been making a wave on social media prior to the meeting.
Business operators stated in a joint statement, “There were individuals who claimed to be officials from Pattaya City who contacted us. The officials said they can quickly issue SHA+ (Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration) certificates. We had to pay 3,000 to 45,000 baht. However, if we registered through the “normal” system it could take weeks, especially at this time in December and January due to a large backlog. We were told these were legitimate SHA+ certificates and agreed to pay the cost, as without these certificates we were not allowed to open our venues and could not afford to wait weeks for the “regular” process to take place in the busiest time of the year.”
Currently, TPN media notes, SHA+, or Thai Stop Covid Plus certificates are needed for former bars/nightclubs/entertainment venues to legally reopen as converted restaurants, but the application process can be complex at times. Legally, bars and entertainment venues are still closed under normal operating policy nationally in Thailand due to Covid-19 measures in place since April of 2021. The venues had just been given permission to become temporary “restaurants” in December of 2021, with no date given for legal reopening for their livelihoods as bars or nightlife.
“We agreed to pay the cost and received the certificates. However, recently officials from other jurisdictions (such as Bangkok) visited Pattaya to inspect paperwork at local venues. When these other officials checked our businesses, they did not find our registered SHA+ certificate in their system and said our certificates were fake. These officials said we have to face legal action and fines were levied against businesses that have already suffered for two years of Covid-19 restrictions and closures.” The group of business owners stated.
Mr. Wuttisak stated at the meeting, “SHA+ certificates are being checked and issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Other certificates such as permission to sell food and drinks are issued directly from Pattaya City. Pattaya City does not issue SHA+ certificates.”
“We are going to investigate this report and the individual that contacted business operators and determine if they were actually a government employee acting incorrectly on their own, as there was no policy or program in place from the city to provide SHA+ certificates in an expedited process. If we found anyone who did this, they will have to face legal action.” Wuttisak stated.
Business operators are also filed a report to the Pattaya City Police. The name of the individual who allegedly said they were a Pattaya City official and who released the certificates was not given by any party involved, citing an ongoing legal investigation.
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