Vietnam News

Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ bustling again as bars reopen

Bars have been allowed to reopen in Ho Chi Minh City following a long shutdown due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, while discos and karaoke shops are still banned.

The municipal People’s Committee on Saturday issued a document regarding the reopening of local bars.

Meanwhile, discos and karaoke shops are still required to remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, the city’s administration lifted the ban on multiple entertainment facilities and non-essential businesses, including pubs, beer clubs, cinemas, spas, beauty salons, saunas, wedding reception centers, Internet shops, and online game centers.

Local gyms were previously allowed to operate from late April.

As bars resumed their operations, Bui Vien and nearby streets in the city’s busiest nightlife area, which is also dubbed the ‘backpacker area,’ have become bustling again.

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters on Saturday evening, Bui Vien Street was quite crowded, but most customers were Vietnamese, as the country still restricts international arrivals.

Most bars and pubs required customers to have their body temperature checked and sanitize their hands before entering.

Some venues even prepared a disinfection chamber.

Those who had a high body temperature would not be allowed entry to ensure safety for other customers as well as employees, said Nguyen Trung Hieu, manager of a bar on Bui Vien.

The venue was also equipped with a disinfection chamber worth VND45 million (US$1,940), Hieu added.

“The number of customers on Saturday was only at 50 percent of our expectation. But we are still happy that our business is back on track after a long suspension,” Hieu remarked.

L.V.H., manager of a bar on Pham Ngu Lao Street, which usually serves foreigners, stated that the facility will now focus on attracting Vietnamese customers as the number of foreign visitors is still limited.

Along the alleys at 15A and 15B Le Thanh Ton Street, many bars and massage parlors have also restarted their business.

Many of these facilities offer discounts to attract more customers.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally currently stands at 288, with 241 having recovered.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 56 patients, of whom 50 have made a recovery.

The municipal administration started shuttering entertainment facilities and non-essential businesses on March 15 in an effort to curb the epidemic.

Tuoi Tre News – May 10, 2020

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