HCMC eateries find conditions for reopening too tough

By Duc Minh   September 14, 2021 | 06:57 pm PT
HCMC eateries find conditions for reopening too tough
Eatery staff on Bui Bang Doan Street, HCMC's District 7, prepare food for customers on September 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Eateries have been allowed to reopen in Ho Chi Minh City, but many are finding the attendant conditions too difficult to fulfill.

Since September 7 food and beverage businesses have been operating from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day but are permitted only takeout and delivery and not dine-in customers.

Many have complained that they cannot meet the authorities’ conditions.

They are required to have employees living on-site, but restaurants lack the facilities to house people, while the 6 pm closing time is too early for dinner, they said.

Owners are also wary about costs since workers need to be tested for Covid-19 every two days.

Another grouse is that restaurants are not allowed to deliver food themselves to customers while delivery service companies are crippled by lack of workers.

With transport around the country affected by anti-pandemic measures, thus affecting the supply chain of goods, restaurants are unable to buy groceries.

The food & beverage industry had been shut for more than 65 days but still had to bear various expenses such as rents and employee benefits, and many owners are worried they might go bankrupt without financial and other support from the government.

They want their workers to be vaccinated so that they could deliver food instead of depending completely on online apps.

They also sought value-added tax (VAT) waiver in 2021 and a 50 percent rebate in 2022 and 2023, a similar income tax rebate in 2021 and a 30 percent cut for the next three years and subsidies to cover costs related to the pandemic such as for testing and housing workers on-site.

They want bank loans at a maximum interest rate of 4 percent for two years, and existing loans to be frozen and restructured.

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