Chiang Mai Walks Back Promise to Pay Infected Tourists 100,000 Baht

People line up for coronavirus tests at a screening station in front of Warm Up Cafe in Chiang Mai City on Jan. 5, 2021. Photo: Warm Up Cafe / Facebook
People line up for coronavirus tests at a screening station in front of Warm Up Cafe in Chiang Mai City on Jan. 5, 2021. Photo: Warm Up Cafe / Facebook

CHIANG MAI — No cash handouts will be given to tourists who contracted the coronavirus while visiting the northern province as promised earlier, a tourism business guild said Monday.

The pledge to pay 100,000 baht to any visitor who caught the virus in Chiang Mai was made in December, but the head of Chiang Mai Tourism Industry Council said today that the promotional campaign only applies to the previous cluster of infections in early December, and it is not related to the ongoing wave of outbreak.

“The campaign was rolled out in response to the case of infected Thai workers who worked at 1G1 Hotel in Myanmar and imported the virus into the country,” Phanlop Sae-chiew said. “We just wanted to build assurance to tourists back then, but the campaign doesn’t cover infections from Warm Up Cafe or any other cases.”

Warm Up was identified as one of the nightlife venues in Chiang Mai responsible for a large cluster of coronavirus infections. As of Sunday, at least 19 confirmed cases were linked to the clubs.

Officials said an infected woman from Bangkok also went to multiple bars in the city on the night of New Year’s Eve, including Tha Chang Cafe, Warm Up Cafe, Pretty Club Xclusive, Infinity Club, and DC Chiang Mai.

Another cluster of infections was found at Riverside Bar, which was visited by the same group of partygoers who previously went to Warm Up in the same night.

Warm Up Cafe was one of the business establishments who announced online in December that anyone found to have contracted the virus there would be paid 100,000 baht – and 1,000,000 baht if the infection results in death.

However, the post has since been removed, after one of its customers complained that she never received the compensation.

“I called Warm Up Cafe and they told me that it was just a PR campaign,” Shanunphat Chaowchaiyut wrote on her Facebook. “They didn’t mean to be serious. They told me that if I really want the money, I must ask the Governor. Is that how you answer your customer?”

The bar could not be reached for comments as of publication time.

Chiang Mai deputy governor Weeraphan Dee-on said Sunday the campaign is not endorsed by or related to the government.

He also said that authorities had already filed charges against the owners of Warmup Cafe for defying the permitted business hours stipulated by the emergency decree.

“The shop must be responsible for what they posted,” Weeraphan said. “The campaign was initiated by the Chiang Mai Tourism Industry Council when cases related to the 1G1 Hotel in Myanmar were found and ended after the situation settled down.”

He suggested that the coronavirus patients file a cybercrime charge against the bar for its false promise.

“The victim may gather evidence to relevant authorities since this may be considered as an importation of false information to the computer system,” Weeraphan said.