HCMC changes tack, tasks districts with groceries shopping

By Thi Ha   August 22, 2021 | 03:30 am PT
HCMC changes tack, tasks districts with groceries shopping
People shop for food at a supermarket in HCMC, August 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Linh Dan
HCMC has abruptly changed a decision it announced Saturday, tasking district administrations with buying food for residents without exception, requiring the latter to "stay where they are."

This marked a sudden change from saying just a day ago that people in safe and low-risk areas can go shopping on their own once a week while those in high risk areas should expect deliveries organized primarily by the military.

The previous decision had tasked the military with coordinating with local authorities and other agencies to ensure food supply for HCMC residents during the stricter social distancing period declared from August 23 to September 6.

The new decision by the city People's Committee will have the administrations of Thu Duc City and all 21 districts distribute goods and food to the people. They will have special task groups that will do the groceries shopping for residents: the local logistics team, the community Covid-19 prevention team, local volunteer forces, police forces and the military.

The frequency of household shopping will be once a week and deliveries will be made directly to paying households.

For people facing difficulties, the administrations of Thu Duc City and districts will coordinate with the city's support center to provide essential goods, organize distribution of free welfare packages, adhering to the principle no person in difficult circumstances going unhelped.

If there is a shortage of supplies, the administrations must report to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade for additional support and organize the coordination of mobile food carts and mobile mini markets to create more channels for distribution of goods to the people.

The main groceries distributors in the city, like Co.opmart, Lotte, Bach Hoa Xanh, Vinmart and other supermarkets, must actively coordinate with the People's Committee of Thu Duc City and districts to review the needs of residents in their area, the decision said.

The distribution of food products should be in accordance with actual consumption needs and the pandemic control situation, it said.

The city has also suggested that distribution units prioritize online sales, pre-registration and buying in large quantities. At the same time, they should plan to replenish stock of goods in a timely manner so that there is no disruption in supply. They should also actively coordinate with the logistics team of each commune, ward, and town to collect information on items and quantities needed in each area to ensure timely deliveries.

During the strengthened social distancing period, supermarkets and production facilities like bakeries and makers of vermicelli, noodles, beans and others will be eligible to maintain operations.

HCMC had earlier requested the Thu Duc City and district administrations to set up local goods supply teams to direct, monitor, inspect and implement plans to supply essential goods including food.

Lower level administrations, that of wards and communes, will review and update information of residents to ensure the supply of goods to everyone.

HCMC has estimated the average consumption demand per day at 10,964 tons, including rice (1,981 tons), dry processed food (660 tons), red meat (755 tons), poultry meat (660 tons), processed food (236 tons), poultry eggs (108 tons), and vegetables and fruits (4,246 tons).

The latest decision on supply of groceries prepares for further tightened coronavirus restrictions starting August 23, requiring people to "stay where they are."

HCMC, current Covid-19 epicenter, has recorded 171,801 local cases and 5,939 deaths.

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