Covid scare: HCMC residents empty supermarket shelves

By Thi Ha, Tat Dat   July 12, 2021 | 03:43 am PT
More cases and lockdowns had anxious HCMC residents rush to buy and stock groceries Monday morning, emptying supermarket shelves despite supplies increasing 7-10 times.

Hang of Go Vap District said that after witnessing a residential area in Ward 13 near her home get locked down, she got worried and wanted to stock some goods.

She ordered goods online two days ago, but they had not been delivered, so she went to buy directly from the supermarkets. However, the goods she wanted, including fresh foodstuffs, were sold out at two supermarkets near her home.

"One supermarket told me to come back after three hours. I returned about 15 minutes late, but the goods had been bought by other customers," she said.

HCMC residents shop at groceries at Big C supermarket, July 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat.

HCMC residents shop at groceries at Big C supermarket, July 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat.

A rapid VnExpress survey of HCMC supermarkets Monday morning showed that many fresh groceries and vegetables were sold out early. Fresh groceries at Vinmart supermarkets in Go Vap District were sold out before 8 a.m. The supermarkets’ staff said they restocked the goods frequently, but there were too many buyers.

At 9.30 a.m., Lotte Mart in District 7 was very crowded, with its fresh foodstuff section drawing a lot of buyers. Many customers flocked to the pork, seafood and vegetable stalls. These items sold well and resupplies could not keep up with the purchases.

Hung of District 7 said that locked-down areas were everywhere now, and that he was afraid his residential area would be locked down soon, too, so he wanted to stock some items.

"Today, my wife and I went to a supermarket. We bought a lot of pork, chicken eggs and vegetables...," he said, adding that he had ordered these things online as well, but delivery was very slow.

Vegetable shelves at the Big C Mien Dong supermarket in HCMC’s District 10, July 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat.

Vegetable shelves at the Big C Mien Dong supermarket in HCMC’s District 10, July 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat.

At the Big C Mien Dong supermarket in District 10, checkout counters were operating at full capacity, with fruit and vegetable stalls attracting most customers. Meat and seafood stalls were also crowded, but frozen groceries had few buyers.

Several supermarket managers told VnExpress that they had abundant supplies of goods, but goods in some sections were sold out because there were too many customers who were afraid that their areas would be locked down soon.

A Vincommerce spokesperson said the supermarket was running at full capacity on Monday to increase supplies, with seafood output up 7-8 times, and fresh fruit and vegetable output up 10 times.

The spokesperson said the most difficult steps were transporting goods from provinces to HCMC, and from big warehouses to supermarkets because of congestion at many quarantine checkpoints. Drivers have to present Covid-19 negative certificates to be eligible for transporting goods through checkpoints.

"There are too many locked down areas, so we have faced difficulty in goods transport," the spokesperson said, adding that big supermarkets are being resupplied frequently and quickly using their own warehouses, but smaller stores like VinMart+ were getting stocks twice a day.

‘Calm down’

A Saigon Co.op spokesperson said their supermarket chain buys goods not only from farms, households and enterprises, but also traders at wholesale markets, but they were facing a shortage of employees because many have to undergo Covid-19 testing.

"People should calm down. Areas are locked down but supermarkets still transport goods to the areas. Shippers are available to transport goods as ordered."

A senior official with the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade said the city will establish more mobile points of sales, and temporarily closed wholesales markets will resume operations soon.

According to HCMC’s social distancing order, starting last Friday, its residents are required to stay at home and only go out for basic necessities like buying food or medicines or seek medical treatment, to work at factories or public offices that are allowed to open, or in case of funerals, fire or other disasters.

The city, home to 13 million people, is suffering the worst Covid-19 community outbreak ever. It is now the most infected locality with more than 14,400 local cases recorded so far in the ongoing wave that hit Vietnam on April 27.

go to top