Shops forced to close in deserted HCMC traditional markets

By Thi Ha   June 15, 2021 | 07:12 pm PT
Shops forced to close in deserted HCMC traditional markets
Xom Moi Market in HCMC's Go Vap District is deserted due to Covid-19. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha.
The fourth wave of Covid-19 has reduced business by 80 percent at traditional markets in HCMC, forcing many shopkeepers to close down.

Loan, a cloth seller at Tan Dinh Market in District 1, said since the outbreak began in late April she has been getting few customers, even none on some days.

"Earlier this year, my shop used to have revenues of VND15-20 million ($655-873) a month, but now they are down 80 percent. This has been the situation for over one month, and so the profits are just enough to pay taxes and fees."

Since her family owns the shop outright, she does not have to pay rent and so can keep it open. Some others have had to close down since their profits are not enough even to pay the rent.

Surveys by VnExpress at Tan Dinh, Xom Moi Market in Go Vap District, Pham Van Hai Market in Tan Binh District, and Hoa Binh Market in District 5 found them to be deserted, with many shops not opening.

Duyen, a cloth seller at Xom Moi, said the taxes and fees are a modest VND1 million but she could not afford even that now.

"Of the four waves of Covid, this one has hit sales the most. Last week my shop was open for six days. I received one or two customers on three days, and none on the other three."

Hoa, whose shop sells soft drinks, sweets and foodstuff in the market, too has got few customers. "I think customers are not going shopping to markets now, and are doing it online. So sales are down sharply."

Xom Moi Market managers said with sales down 20-80 percent, many traders have been forced to close down. During the previous waves of Covid, authorities gave them tax breaks, enabling them to survive, they said.

The market has 236 shops, with 141 opening regularly or often and 19 garment and textile shops closing, they added.

Senior officials at the city Department of Industry and Trade told VnExpress that the department plans to provide traders at traditional markets financial assistance between July and December.

But some traders said they would instead prefer a 20-50 percent cut in taxes and fees this year.

Vietnam recorded 8,088 Covid-19 cases, including 980 in HCMC, in the new wave since late April.

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