Excited, nervous: HCMC spas, bars, karaoke parlors before reopening

By Dy Tung   January 6, 2022 | 08:20 pm PT
Excited, nervous: HCMC spas, bars, karaoke parlors before reopening
Staff of karaoke parlor chain Icool in HCMC clean up the premises on Jan.4, 2022. Photo courtesy of Icool
Very happy to resume operations after over six months of closure, spas, bars and karaoke parlors in HCMC are also worried they might not attract many customers.

The municipal administration has allowed these health and entertainment establishments to resume operations from Jan. 10.

"We are very happy that the nightlife industry is back. During the pandemic, our employees were in great difficulties and lost all their income," Le Ngoc Phien, a representative of Candi Shop Bar, told VnExpress.

The bar will upgrade equipment, develop new products, hold media events to attract new customers and overcome shortcomings to retain old customers, he said.

However, he was still afraid that the number of customers would only be 70-80 percent of the pre-Covid period.

Thuy Duong, sales representative of karaoke parlor chain Icool, said: "Our company's 500 employees have been looking forward to resuming operation every day."

Spas and massage parlors are also eager to resume operations. "I have been looking forward to the reopening for a long time, so I can make up for losses in the pandemic," said Pham Trong Nghia, owner of Lavie' Care Clinic & Spa in District 10.

He said it was rather late for spas to resume operation near mid-January, the period leading to Tet, the Lunar New Year festival, which falls early February.

"Spas have been closed since the end of May and many have gone bankrupt, unable to bear their maintenance costs. Spas had to pay rent even when they could not operate," he said.

Minh Tri, owner of a bar in District 1, felt bars would be busy for the first one or two weeks after reopening with a maximum of 80 percent of their pre-pandemic crowd, and this would reduce further later.

"Bars will definitely be crowded because some guests want to experience the feeling of going to bar after a long time. But the general situation will not be the same as before because the economy has gone down, and after a long period of social distancing, people are used to having fun and parties in private groups at home or in rented apartments.

"In the near future, Vietnam will welcome international visitors again, but if Omicron breaks out, will entertainment establishments be closed again? The situation is precarious, right now," he said.

In previous years, the months and weeks before the Lunar New Year were the busiest time for spas because people focused on looking at their best for the festival. But this time, with most suffering salary cuts, their outlay for beauty care may be reduced or omitted, Nghia said.

Quynh, owner of CHI's Beauty in Binh Thanh District, which specializes in face and body massage, said many people, especially middle-aged customers, might be worried about Covid-19 infection, so the spa’s main source of income would depend on a young office goers.

Some 500 karaoke parlors, bars and discos have had to stop operation for nearly eight months as part of efforts to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic.

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