HCMC businesses thrive on reopening day

By Dat Nguyen, Dang KhoaOctober 1, 2021 | 03:29 am PT
HCMC businesses thrive on reopening day
People queue up at a noodles shop in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Oct. 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Motorbike maintenance stores, barbershops and several other businesses in HCMC reopened in bliss Friday as demand surged after months of closure.

"My men have been working non-stop since early morning. Customers keep bringing their bikes in and we cannot fix all of them at once," said Gioi, owner of a motorbike maintenance shop in District 3.

Some of his five employees were not able to finish their cups of coffee as customers queued up to have their bikes fixed after a long time of no usage.

As of 10 a.m., more than a dozen bikes had been fixed. Popular issues were dead batteries, flat tires and initiation difficulties.

"We might keep the shop open until 8 p.m. if there are still customers," Gioi said.

Ho Chi Minh City resumed most services Friday after over four months of social distancing due to the fourth Covid-19 wave that has infected over 388,600 citizens.

Streets were crowded as people poured out for shopping and services as the city of 13 million began to ‘live with Covid-19’.

Workers fix motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City on October 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nhan

Workers fix motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City on Oct. 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nhan

In the morning, people were queuing at most barbershops as they sought to have their hair trimmed after months of staying indoors.

Trinh, who owns a barbershop in Tan Binh District, said his two employees had not been able to serve all the customers in the morning due to the large demand.

As barbershops are only to operate at half their capacity, "We have to reschedule customers to another time to avoid forming a crowd," he said, adding that people need to show they have either been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

Dam, a customer, said he had to ask his employer for the morning off to have his hair trimmed. He had to wait for two hours.

Ngoc Thao, manager at a laundry shop in District 10, was "too excited to sleep" in the night as she thought about reopening her shop.

Customers showed up early at around 6-7 a.m., bringing their sheets and blankets after months of no cleaning, she said.

"Although some familiar customers have not returned from their hometown, I’m glad people are coming to the shop again."

Other businesses welcomed back customers but with strict safety measures imposed to reduce contagion.

Tuyet Nhung, who owns a dental clinic in District 3, said although many people demanded service, she only served those who have been fully vaccinated and who do not live in areas at high risk.

"I’m glad to see patients again, but I only let one come in at a time."

Nhung also added another step to her work process, which is to clean patients’ throats before working on their teeth to ensure safety.

Other businesses expect there would be no other social distancing order.

Ha, who has buyers and shippers lining up in front of her sticky rice eatery in District 10, said: "I hope there won’t be another closure. This is my livelihood."

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