BANGKOK: The Chairman of Minor Group appealed to the Thai leadership as he announced the closure of 6 hotels in the capital. He advised the PM and Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang that it was the view of many in the business community that short term financial pain, was the better option to not only protect people’s health but also, it could prove the fastest way to get the Thai economy back on tracks after this emergency. 

The boss of the Minor Group, one of Thailand’s leading companies, has appealed to the Thai prime minister in an open letter to take decisive action on the coronavirus. William E Heinecke has called for an immediate lockdown and measures to be introduced limiting contact between people nationwide. He warns that Thailand is currently at a ‘tipping point’ in the battle to protect the kingdom from the sort of devastation seen in other countries.

The boss of one of Thailand’s top firms this week called on Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha and the Governor of Bangkok, Aswin Kwanmuang, to take urgent action to lock down the city and the country to fight off the Covid 19 virus. William E. Heinecke said that the strategy of short term pain to defeat the virus was the right one.

The Chairman of one of Thailand’s most successful firms, which employs over 37,000 people in Thailand, has written to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha urging him to lock down the country.

On Tuesday, William E. Heinecke, the Chairman of Minor International sent an open letter to both the Prime Minister and the Governor of Bangkok, Aswin Kwanmuang.

Short term pain is the most effective cure

He announced the immediate closure of the group’s Bangkok Hotels to protect staff and clients.

In his letter, the top executive expressed the view that strong short term action, even though it might be costly, was the most effective way to deal with the current crisis.  

Praised previous actions by government 

He praised the government’s decisive actions so far including travel restrictions into Thailand as well as those taken by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority which on Saturday closed shopping malls and a range of non-essential business outlets in the capital. 

This has also now been extended to other provinces. Mr Heinecke noted with satisfaction that such steps had also been taken in places such as Chiang Mai.

‘We are acting, in this regard, in the best interest of our more than 37,000 employees in Thailand and our other stakeholders. Thank you again for your strong leadership in these challenging times,’ he wrote.

Thailand is currently at a tipping point

Mr Heinecke told the PM that he believed the situation in Thailand was at a ‘tipping point’ and that he felt that major segments of the population failed to appreciate the ‘gravity’ of the threat being posed in open sight. 

‘We believe that others in the private sector support and are taking a similar approach and are willing to absorb short-term economic pain to best emerge from this crisis in a position to get the economy back to full speed and preserve jobs and livelihoods,’ he told the prime minister.

Boss indicated further closures

He also indicated that the closure of the group’s hotels would be followed by the closure of other Minor Group facilities in Thailand.

The Minor Group has 28 hotels in Thailand, 6 of which are in Bangkok.

It also operates a highly successful retail and restaurant division in the kingdom with some of the country’s best-known brands.

These include Burger King, The Pizza Company, Dairy Queen and Swensens.

Single biggest economic crisis in our lifetime

Mr Heinecke described the current coronavirus crisis as the single biggest economic threat in our lifetime.

He noted that in recent days Thailand was witnessing exponential growth in the numbers of infections in a similar pattern to other countries.

Very concerned about the movement of people out of Bangkok, urged decisive action to limit gatherings

The top business leader said he was concerned by the recent movement of people out of Bangkok to provinces and the widespread lack of knowledge of the threat in Thailand’s hinterlands.

He urged the government to take bold and decisive steps such as limiting public gatherings, personal movement and any other orders considered necessary to stop the spread of the deadly virus at this time.

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Further reading:

Authorities ready to control movement and lockdown as public is urged not to leave Bangkok

Government declares a state of emergency with sweeping powers to curb the spread of the virus

Top Thai doctors warn Thai people of an Italian type catastrophe here without deterrent action

New Team Thailand to the rescue as ex-minister says infections can be controlled in a few weeks

UK Ambassador warns that links with home may be disrupted for many months as Thailand closes its borders