Following a meeting attended by village heads, officials and elders of the Koh Larn community, which has several hundred year round permanent residents, it was decided this past weekend that the island would ease some previous restrictions and allow residents to come and go from the island on several daily scheduled boat trips to Pattaya.
These trips are designed for Koh Larn residents, who have remained isolated since late March, to go shopping, run errands and other essential tasks in the Pattaya area. Previously, only one boat ran a day bringing required goods to the island, including donations from Pattaya City to support those who live on the island who are almost entirely dependent on tourism in normal times.
During the Covid-19 pandemic many Koh Larn residents have returned to traditional ways of living that have been in families who have lived on the island for generations. Primarily, for most of the residents, this has meant a return to fishing for sustenance and survival for those on the island. Additionally, Koh Larn residents have focused on using the current time period with no tourists to refresh and clean the island and beaches which have, for many years, been Pattaya’s top tourist attraction seeing as many as 10,000 tourists a day. The period of closure has allowed nature and beauty to return to the island, according to residents.
Koh Larn has never recorded a single case of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, despite 10,000 C tourists a day on average until mid February, most of them Chinese. Additionally, the island was still getting around 5,000 tourists a day until the decision to close it to the public was made in Mid March.
Beaches remain closed in Chonburi province under government order, which is an additional reason the island remains closed.
Koh Larn officials said they will be meeting with the Chonburi governor and island officials near the end of May to evaluate a potential public re-opening. For now, the island remains closed until at least May 31.