One of Bangkok’s most popular dance spots, DEMO, has already closed down temporarily. Perhaps, more will follow.
When bad news hits the nightlife scene, it keeps on hitting. Later today (March 17), the cabinet will decide on whether to temporarily close down all venues where more than 50 people gather, which includes nightclubs.
Last Thursday (March 12), news broke that 11 people were infected with COVID-19 while partying in the capital’s premier nightlife district, Thonglor.
Since the news broke, Thonglor at night went from busy to almost-empty, and now, what is left of Bangkok’s nightlife is waiting to hear the verdict from the government, to stay wet or to go dry.
“The nightlife scene in Bangkok has already been affected by COVID-19 and will continue to slow down if this virus is not contained,” said Yishu Long, Operations Director at #FindThePhotoBooth, Score Bar, and #FindTheLockerRoom- a hidden cocktail bar on Thonglor.
Yishu said that when tourist numbers dropped, there was a rise in locals visiting his outlets. But when the news about those eleven infected in Thonglor broke, things changed.
Over at Sukhumvit Soi 11, another popular nightlife district, Rohit Sachdev, Chief Executive Officer at Soho Hospitality, which operates the rooftop bar Above Eleven and the popular dance spot Havana Social, said:
“We’ve seen decreases in revenues up to 50% in some of our establishments. The number seems to be sliding downward week to week with no visibility on when it will end.”
“Very difficult times, indeed,” he added.
Chinatown also feels the heat. Niks Anuman-Rajadhon, one of the masterminds behind Teens of Thailand and Asia Today, told us that sales went down 50% because of the news about those 11 people infected in Thonglor.
“We totally understand and support that health comes first,” Niks said. “But honestly, it’s really exasperating to see how our government reacts to this emergency.”
“If you are well, feel well and have not been in a virus-risked situation, it’s ok to come out,” he added.
According to Rohit, the SOHO Hospitality boss, his venues enforce strict hygiene measures, including daily sanitization and checking of temperatures of both staff and customers.
“I do encourage customers to go out and support the food and beverage industry at this time as much as they can, as we really need your support,” said Rohit.
But for now, everyone waits to hear the verdict from the cabinet: to stay wet, or to go dry.