Small businesses struggle to recruit workers for reopening

By Thi Ha, Vien Thong, Tat Dat   September 23, 2021 | 02:30 pm GMT+7
Small businesses struggle to recruit workers for reopening
Staff of Gong Cha bubble tea chain prepares drinks as gifts to Covid-19 healthcare workers in July 2021. Photo courtesy of Gong Cha
Businesses that reopened in Ho Chi Minh City are struggling to find enough workers due to stringent requirements on vaccination and on-site accommodation.

Hanh in District 7 has mobilized her family to restart her noodle shop after failing to find a waiter.

"As the city requires workers to be fully vaccinated, I have not been able to find anyone. We are running at half our pre-pandemic capacity."

The shop could only resume full service if the city completely reopens by early next month, she added.

Loan, a rice vendor in the same district, faces the same headache as it is not easy to find a fully vaccinated sales or delivery person.

This is happening while demand is rising and people are starting to make purchases in-person, she added.

At least 150 businesses in District 7 have been allowed to resume operation with a "green business" as HCMC begins to relax restrictions in certain areas.

However, many businesses struggle to reopen, with one of the difficulties being arranging staff accommodation.

Among these is bubble tea chain Gong Cha, which reopened its first outlet in District 7 on Sep. 16.

"It took us a lot of time to set up accommodation for our workers to live on site as this is the first time we do this," said a spokesperson for the chain.

Meanwhile coffee chain Coffee Bike chose to observe the market instead of resuming right away due to fear of losses.

Hoang Tien, founder of the chain, said Coffee Bike could only reopen when the city allows the gathering of at least five people.

The chain is selling online but due to high delivery costs there are few customers, he added.

Some other chains are considering delaying their resumption until next year as ingredient costs have risen by 15-20 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

"With a shortage of staff and shippers plus high ingredient costs I will reopen my shop in 2022," said a spokesperson of 1993’s Coffee & Tea shop in Binh Thuan District.

Minh Tri, owner of a noodle shop, have been reluctant to figure out how to apply for a green business title.

Customers are afraid they would be fined when hitting the streets, he said, adding that the possibility of loss due to expensive ingredients discourages him.

Phan Trang Huong, head of the economic department of District 7, said since the district only just started reopening, many companies are still confused about resuming their activities.

The city recorded 5,435 new Covid cases Wednesday, down from 6,521 the previous day.

 
 
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