Coronavirus leaves Saigon’s bustling backpacker street deserted

By Quynh Tran   March 15, 2020 | 05:44 pm GMT+7

Bars and karaoke parlors are all closed in Saigon’s backpacker area as authorities continue to take precautions, leaving Bui Vien street deserted.

The People’s Committee of Saigon’s District 1 has ordered all places of amusement such as cinemas, massage and karaoke parlors, beer clubs and discotheques to close from 6 p.m. on Saturday until further notice. By evening Bui Vien street, a popular area for backpackers in the district, was abandoned.

The People’s Committee of Saigon’s District 1 has ordered all places of amusement such as cinemas, massage and karaoke parlors, beer clubs and discotheques to close from 6 p.m. on Saturday until further notice. By evening Bui Vien street, a popular area for backpackers in the district, was abandoned.

With all bars closed, the usual crowd of people walking, eating and dancing was missing.

With all bars closed, the usual crowd of people walking, eating and dancing was missing.

A massage parlor turns off the light and takes its sign boards inside on Saturday evening.

A massage parlor turns off the light and takes its sign boards inside on Saturday evening.

At a beer club, Huy (R), 20, an employee, cleans the tables and puts them in a corner before leaving. He said: Normally, I will work until early morning, but now I will return to my place after this. I will quit working here temporarily to work at a convenience store.

At a beer club, Huy (R), 20, an employee, cleans the tables and puts them in a corner before leaving. He said: "Normally, I will work until early morning, but now I will return to my place after this. I will quit working here temporarily to work at a convenience store."

The sidewalks, usually packed with night owls, turned into a deserted place with closed doors, guards and empty tables. I have rented five houses to run a beer club for more than 10 years, and never seen this situation, My Lan, the owner of a beer club, said. The woman, who was surprised with local authorities’ orders to close bars and clubs, added that she had been trying to keep her place open though profit had decreased by 50 percent due to the epidemic.

The sidewalks, usually packed with night owls, turned into a deserted place with closed doors, guards and empty tables. "I have rented five houses to run a beer club for more than 10 years, and never seen this situation," My Lan, the owner of a beer club, said. The woman, who was surprised with local authorities’ orders to close bars and clubs, added that she had been trying to keep her place open though profit had decreased by 50 percent due to the epidemic.

Tran Thi Bach Tuyet (standing) speaks with her staff before closing down her restaurant. This small restaurant costs me VND30 million ($1,293) monthly in rent. If the epidemic is not contained in the next two months, I will return it to the landlord.

Tran Thi Bach Tuyet (standing) speaks with her staff before closing down her restaurant. "This small restaurant costs me VND30 million ($1,293) monthly in rent. If the epidemic is not contained in the next two months, I will return it to the landlord."

Ngoc Tuyen, 30, could not hide her sadness after losing her job. The woman from the central Khanh Hoa Province worked as a waitress and earned at least VND15 million ($646.5) a month and with it took care of her two children. I surprisingly lost my job, I do not know what to do now.

Ngoc Tuyen, 30, could not hide her sadness after losing her job. The woman from the central Khanh Hoa Province worked as a waitress and earned at least VND15 million ($646.5) a month and with it took care of her two children. "I surprisingly lost my job, I do not know what to do now."

Sander, a Belgian man and a regular at Bui Vien, was surprised to learn that all bars and clubs on the street had closed down. But he concurred with the decision.

Sander, a Belgian man and a regular at Bui Vien, was surprised to learn that all bars and clubs on the street had closed down. But he concurred with the decision.

Hanoian Luong Cong Anh (L) and his friends take some photos on the deserted street before going home. Cong was miffed since this was his first time at the popular backpacker street.

Hanoian Luong Cong Anh (L) and his friends take some photos on the deserted street before going home. Cong was miffed since this was his first time at the popular backpacker street.

Some restaurants, coffee shops and convenience stores remain open since they are not in the list of businesses that have to close down.

Some restaurants, coffee shops and convenience stores remain open since they are not in the list of businesses that have to close down.

Local officials go to each store and restaurant on Bui Vien street to tell them to turn off the lights, take their signboards inside and close.

Local officials go to each store and restaurant on Bui Vien street to tell them to turn off the lights, take their signboards inside and close.

Many cinemas, bars and discotheques in District 1 also close. A few hours later Ho Chi Minh City also orders the180 bars and beer clubs, around 500 karaoke parlors, cinemas, massage parlors, and internet cafes in the metropolis to close down starting from 6 p.m. on Sunday. It comes shortly after Vietnams 53rd Covid-19 case is confirmed in the city.

Many cinemas, bars and discotheques in District 1 also close. A few hours later Ho Chi Minh City also orders the180 bars and beer clubs, around 500 karaoke parlors, cinemas, massage parlors, and internet cafes in the metropolis to close down starting from 6 p.m. on Sunday. It comes shortly after Vietnam's 53rd Covid-19 case is confirmed in the city.

 
 
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