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Pattaya Mismanaged Music Festival Crowds; Now Mayor Blames Fans for Covid-19 Outbreak

More people congregated for the first week of the Pattaya Music Festival outside the gates than inside, with the city making no effort on the disease-control front.
More people congregated for the first week of the Pattaya Music Festival outside the gates than inside, with the city making no effort on the disease-control front.

Pattaya will continue its plans for weekly events through the year-end even though its mismanagement of the crowd at the Pattaya Music Festival led to coronavirus cases among concertgoers.

In the first two weeks of the four-week concert series last month, Pattaya drastically limited the number of people allowed into the seating area near the stage – 150 the first week and 500 the second – and required those people who did get in to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19.

No precautions of any sort were taken for those who couldn’t get in. Crowds instead massed outside the fences with no social distancing, vaccination or testing required.

The result has been some of those people congregating on the beach came down with Covid-19. Chonburi health officials this week urged everyone who were in the sandy mosh pit on the beach to get tested.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome on Friday blamed the music fans, not himself or the city, for the infections, admonishing people for “not complying with disease-control measures”, including not wearing face masks and grouping together.

Photos showed the overwhelming majority of people were wearing masks.

Sonthaya said future events will see a stepped-up police presence outside stage areas to cut crowding and ensure face mask use.

The original version of this story appears in the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.