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HCMC authority revokes 'no alcohol' condition for on-site dining

By Huu Cong   October 26, 2021 | 11:51 pm PT
HCMC authority revokes 'no alcohol' condition for on-site dining
Restaurants in HCMC have not been allowed on-site dining since May 25, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Food Safety Management Authority of HCMC has rescinded part of a proposal where a condition for restaurants to resume on-site dining is without alcohol.

"The revocation of the criteria of no alcohol and beer at food and beverage establishments that offer on-site services is to let the safety criteria for food and beverage establishments to resume operations while preventing Covid-19 be more focused," Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Food Safety Management Authority, said Wednesday.

Even if the "no alcohol" condition is applied, it would only be so temporarily, said Lan. The Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee would decide whether to go forward with the condition or not based on the coronavirus situation, she added.

Previously on Sunday, the authority sent the People's Committee a draft regarding safety criteria for food and beverage establishments to resume operations while preventing Covid-19. Six criteria would be required for such services to resume, including no air conditioning and no alcohol.

The authority said allowing alcohol would make people stay back longer and may cause them to "act without restraints," leading to heightened coronavirus risks.

The "no alcohol" condition has proved to be controversial, with supporters saying the ban is necessary as the coronavirus hasn't gone away in Ho Chi Minh City. Others say restaurants and other food and beverage establishments need to recover post-pandemic, so they should be allowed the chance to do so once the coronavirus has been put under control.

Impacts of the pandemic have forced food and beverage businesses in the southern metropolis to suspend on-site operations for around five months. Around 7,500 businesses and thousands of families are working in the field across the city, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

Throughout the past eight months, the revenues of food and beverage establishments in the city were only around VND32 trillion ($1.4 billion), a 20 percent reduction from the same period last year. Dismal sales performance has caused numerous shops to close up for good.

Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee on Sunday announced the coronavirus risks in 22 districts, with nine qualified as safe zones, 12 as having medium risks and one, and one, Binh Tan District, as having high risks.

 
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