11 July 2024

Many Thai massage shops employ blind and visually impaired staff and such shops in Bangkok have been temporarily closed, by order of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on January 2nd, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The President of the Thailand Association of the Blind, Ekkamol Paetayanan, revealed that Thai massage is one of the main occupations for visually impaired Thai people. Currently, there are 12,000 such people working as Thai masseuses.

Director of the National Center for the Blind, Pohnchai Klubwihok, says that about 100 Thai massage shops, employing the visually impaired, have been closed due to the latest outbreak. 20 of them are in Bangkok, affecting 500 visually staff.

In light of the current situation, they feel that the government’s relief packages are unclear, which is causing much concern among these workers, who still have their daily expenses to meet.

During the first outbreak last year, the Thailand Association of the Blind asked for donations and set up help centres, as well as providing face masks and sanitizer gel for the blind employees.

Two million disabled people also received 1,000 baht cash subsidies last April, as part of the support measures rolled out by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.