PATTAYA — Police in the resort town of Pattaya on Friday said they increased patrol during the nighttime Friday following reports of people hanging out in large numbers on the streets, igniting fears of coronavirus infection.
Photos released by Siamchon Newspaper on Wednesday night show a group of more than 50 Thais and foreigners eating and drinking on a sidewalk in front of the Tree Town Market on Soi Bua Khao. Large gatherings are currently banned by the Emergency Decree.
Pattaya police chief Khemarin Pismai said local residents were concerned that the crowds might violate the Emergency Decree and called police to disperse them.
“We were not idle at what happened. Patrol cars were dispatched to the area to notify the crowd that such gathering is inappropriate at the moment,” Col. Khemarin said. “However, this case was not considered to be a violation of the Emergency Decree since they were not partying or doing anything illegal.”
Police said no arrests were made on Wednesday night and the crowd left shortly after police arrived.
“Think of it as these people were gathering on the beach,” Khemarin said. “As bars were closed, they had nowhere else to go. They came by themselves and the assembly was not organized. Therefore, this is perfectly legal, though it may not be appropriate during the epidemic.”
The Emergency Decree, which is currently in effect and is due to be extended for another month, banned large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, including political rallies.