Feeling the squeeze from lockdown, Bangkok’s massage parlours ask city for help

Thailand’s massage parlours are asking the local Bangkok government for financial assistance to help them survive the temporary closures ordered as part of the fight against the third wave of the coronavirus.  

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Saturday ordered the temporary shutdown of 31 categories of at-risk businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus for 14 days from Monday.

The third wave, which started at entertainment venues in the capital and surrounding provinces, has led to 28,645 confirmed cases and 54 deaths since April 1, and the country is now reporting more than 2,000 cases per day.

“Our business is one of the businesses that have been ordered to temporarily shut down every time there has been such an order,” Aksika Chantarawinij, one of the massage business owners, told Thai Enquirer. “We have followed every single one them and they are yet to provide any specific financial relief for us.”

“We came to the BMA to ask them what they can do for us now because we are in deep financial trouble for abiding by these orders without any compensation from the authorities,” she added.

She said they want the BMA to help them negotiate with landlords to lower their rent and help them through these times of low income.

“We are suffering because we cannot make any money but we still have to pay for rent and salary for our employees,” Aksika said.

The representatives along with the Charawi Association for Conservation of Thai massage said the Rao Mai Ting Gun scheme, which was meant for all businesses, was the only scheme that they can get financial help from, but that was both introduced and ended last year.

However, they have been two temporary shutdown orders since then, including the latest one on Monday.

“Last year, we only managed to stay open for six months and we still have to pay for all the fixed payments for the entire year,” Aksika said.

“There is a chance that many of these businesses will close down and their employees will be out of job so we really need help now,” she added.

A representative from the BMA said they will consider the matter.

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