Coronavirus fears turn Hanoi shopping malls into deserted places

By Anh Tu   February 9, 2020 | 05:58 pm GMT+7
Usually busy trade centers in Hanoi are wearing a deserted look even on weekends because of the new coronavirus scare.
On normal days, Aeon Mall - the largest shopping center in Long Bien District, is a busy weekend destination of not only families and children in Hanoi, but also nearby localities such as Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh. On Saturday, the center was empty when the epidemic caused by 2019-nCoV complicated, with the country confirming 13 infection cases, including eight in Vinh Phuc Province, 40km from Hanoi. 

On normal days Aeon Mall in Long Bien District is packed with families and children not only from Hanoi but also nearby provinces like Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh. On Saturday the mall was empty as the country has confirmed 14 cases of nCoV infection, nine in Vinh Phuc Province, 40 km from Hanoi.

Sharing the same fate, Vincom Ba Trieu, one of the busiest centers in Hanoi, had only a few guests on Saturday afternoon, completely different from weekend occasions before the epidemic was declared as national epidemic by the government, with throngs of visitors flocking for shopping, eating and entertainment activities. 

Vincom Ba Trieu in Hai Ba Trung District, usually one of the busiest shopping centers in the capital, had just a few people on Saturday afternoon. 

Minh Truong, a local man who often takes his family to Vincom Ba Trieu every week, said: I was totally surprised when the usually-crowded shopping mall looked deserted.

Minh Truong, who takes his family to Vincom Ba Trieu every week, said: "I was totally surprised to see the normally crowded shopping mall deserted."

Most shopping stalls had no guests while security guards and staff were forced to wear face masks while on duty to limit the spread of the deadly new virus. 

Most shops in the trade center had no customers while security guards and other staff were forced to wear face masks while on duty. 

At fashion stores, employees sometimes outnumber customers. The store has been empty for the last few days, probably because people were afraid of crwowded places amid complicated situation of the epidemic and the weather was still raining, said an employee at the store. 

At fashion stores in Vincom Ba Trieu, employees outnumbered customers. An employee at a store said: "The shop has been empty for the last few days, probably because people are afraid of crowded places ... and it is raining and cold." 


A movie theater inside Vincom Ba Trieu was also empty; therefore, it only opened a ticket counter. Typically, the movie theater is full of movie-goers, with staff working non-stop to serve customers every weekend. But now, no crowds and no visitors queuing in long lines as before.  

A movie theater inside Vincom Ba Trieu was also empty; therefore, it only opened one ticket counter. Typically, the movie theater is full of movie-goers, with staff working non-stop to serve customers every weekend. But now, no crowds and no visitors queuing in long lines as before.

Food service also takes heavy toll from the nCov epidemic. On Saturday night, this restaurant had no any customers. This is also the common scene of other restaurants in the food court.

The epidemic has taken a heavy toll on eateries too. On Saturday night this restaurant in Vincom Ba Trieu had no customers.

[Caption]aaTables and chairs were left empty. A restaurant owner in the food court said next week if the sluggish situation continues, staff will be cut in half  to reduce costs.

The owner of a restaurant in Aeon Mall in Long Bien District said if the sluggish situation continues next week, staff would have to be cut by half to reduce costs.

In the middle of the epidemic season, many people limit gathering crowded places and avoid eating outside to prevent the risks of being infected with the disease that had killed 724, with 722 dying in mainland China, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong as of Saturday. 

People are wary of going to crowded places and eating outside since the epidemic has already claimed 813 lives globally, 811 in mainland China and one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The play area for kids, which is full of laugh of children on weekend days, was very quiet in recent days. More than 2 million Hanoi students will get an extra week off until February 16 as a prudent measure to prevent the deadly epidemic from spreading to schools and for ensuring the safety and health of students.Besides Hanoi, all provinces and cities across the country have announced plans to extend the school break for students until next Sunday, including Vinh Phuc, which has confirmed eight infections, and HCMC with three cases. 

The play area for kids in Aeon Mall in Long Bien District, which is filled with laughter during weekends, has been eerily quiet in recent days. 

More than two million Hanoi students will get one more week off until next Sunday as a prudent measure against the epidemic.

All other cities and provinces across the country have also announced school breaks until next Sunday or without a specific timeline.

 
 
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