BANGKOK (Reuters) - With performers wearing facemasks as well as bikinis, Bangkok’s red-light districts reopened on Wednesday after more than three months of shutdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Bars, karaoke venues and massage parlours were in the latest category of businesses allowed to reopen - with conditions - now that Thailand has gone 37 days since recording any local transmission of the virus.
It meant a return to work for some of the hundreds of thousands of people in the nightlife industry who have been struggling to survive.
“I lost all my income,” said Bee, a 27-year-old dancer who goes by her stage name at the XXX Lounge in the Patpong district.
“I’m glad that I can come back to work in a job that I’m good at. I’m OK with the mask because it’s one of the precautions.”
All customers have their temperature taken. They must give a name and telephone number. Inside, everybody must sit at least one metre (yard) apart and two metres from the stage.
British expatriate Michael Theo was among those who questioned the need.
“You can take a BTS (train) in the morning with 200 people on a packed train but then you can come into a bar and still have to sit 2 metres apart,” he said.
Thailand has staggered the reopening of public places over several weeks. Schools also resumed on Wednesday.