Fresh groceries rush in Hanoi after Covid-19 restrictions tightened

By Anh Minh, Phuong Anh, Quynh Trang   July 19, 2021 | 03:44 am PT
Fresh groceries rush in Hanoi after Covid-19 restrictions tightened
Customers shop at the Big C Thang Long supermarket in Hanoi in the evening of July 18, 2021, a day before Hanoi began a period of tightened pandemic related restrictions. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu.
Traditional markets and supermarkets were crowded Monday morning as Hanoi began a new phase with tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

Khoa, a meat seller from the rural district of Thuong Tin, transported pork to the Ha Dong Market in the eponymous urban district at 5.30 a.m., and sold out his meat in two hours. "There were too many buyers early in the morning. My wife and I were as busy as a bees," he said.

Ha, another pork seller at the Ha Dong market, had also sold out her meat by 7.30 a.m., although she had brought 10 kg more than usual.

"Sold out today, but on the shelf tomorrow," she said, implying that people had rushed to buy groceries only because it was the first day of tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

The Hanoi People’s Committee Sunday asked citizens to stay home, avoid public gatherings of over five and maintain a distance of at least two meters between people starting Monday.

At 6-7 a.m., the Thanh Cong Market in Ba Dinh urban district was crowded with customers, mostly buying pork, fresh vegetables and dried groceries. "Some people spent up to several million dong (VND2.3 million= $100) buying pork," said Minh, a meat vendor.

Compared with previous days, the prices of pork, chicken, beef and fresh vegetables at traditional markets remained unchanged at VND140,000 a kilo of lean pork, and VND130,000-140,000 a kilo of pig ribs.

Purchases at traditional markets rose gradually from late Sunday afternoon and spiked Monday morning.

A VnExpress round up of other traditional markets showed that many items, especially meat, were being sold at bigger volumes than usual, but there was plentiful supply of fresh groceries, including pork, chicken, beef, vegetables and fruits. Not many people were stockpiling.

On Sunday, supermarkets in Hanoi also saw more buyers, but were not too crowded. The Co.opmart Ha Dong supermarket had plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and meat Sunday morning.

Most customers bought fresh groceries, the supermarket staff said.

Some supermarkets ran out of poultry eggs Sunday morning. "Traders are re-supplying goods to supermarkets. We still have abundant sources to serve people," said a spokesperson for the Aeon supermarket chain.

Some supermarkets in Hanoi saw a lot of people late afternoon on Sunday, soon after municipal authorities announced the tightening of Covid-19 based restrictions.

The VinMart supermarket outlet on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street ran out of fresh pork, chicken and vegetables, but had plentiful stock of frozen beef and fish.

Khuc Tien Ha, operations director of the VinMart chain in the northern region, said there was sudden high demand for essential goods and fresh groceries, and a few items ran out of stock at some outlets, but they had prepared plans to ensure sufficient supplies in the coming days.

Fresh vegetables and fruits aplenty in Hanoi supermarkets in the morning of July 19, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang.

Fresh vegetables and fruits aplenty in Hanoi supermarkets in the morning of July 19, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang.

Tran Thi Phuong Lan, acting director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, said that even if purchases surged for several days, supply was still abundant.

"Distributors are implementing plans to stock goods at the highest level, ensuring sufficiency for three months. The total value of 15 kinds of essential goods stocked thus is estimated at VND194 trillion," she said.

The department has actively coordinated with the departments of transport and health to assist enterprises in transporting goods smoothly while keeping logistics costs low, she added.

The trade department is ready to make use of nearly 240 vehicles to transport goods to outlets alongside the suppliers.

The department and supermarkets have advised residents not to stock goods. Some supermarkets have opened online distribution channels so that buyers can place orders via popular apps and e-commerce platforms such as Now and Lazada.

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