The votes are in.
The island, which is partially self-governed by their own council and elder, held a referendum over the weekend to decide if they would reopen the island to tourists, their prime source of income.
The island is almost 100% dependent on tourists for their income and is the closest major island to Bangkok, drawing thousands of tourists from Bangkok and other nearby provinces when open. Although the situation in Pattaya specifically has improved around Covid-19 and most Chonburi cases are coming from factories and migrant worker camps that typically do not travel or leave their work/dormitories, the major concern from island residents is that if the island was opened Bangkokians would stream in, and possibly bring Covid-19 with them.
Bangkok is currently the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand.
This is a similar thought process to why Pattaya and Jomtien remain strict about beaches and other tourist attractions with the governor leaving them closed, according to Chonburi officials. Although the economic pain is truly evident by looking around the majority of Pattaya proper lately, the overall thought process is that the city needs to avoid widespread cases like Bangkok until the vaccination program gets going if they want to be able to open up to foreign tourists later this year, set for October.
Koh Si Chang, as a note, remains open (but is not as popular with tourists), as does Koh Samed and Koh Chang further South.
Image: Koh Larn Public Relations