Hue pedestrian zone reopens after two months

By Nguyen Quy   May 17, 2020 | 09:03 pm PT
Hue pedestrian zone reopens after two months
Foreign tourists walk inside the pedestrian zone in Hue, central Vietnam, March 2020. Photo courtesy of Thua Thien-Hue Newspaper.
Thua Thien-Hue Province reopened its famous pedestrian zone last weekend with certain restrictions as the Covid-19 situation improved in the country.

Tran Song, vice chairman of Hue Town, said that no gatherings of more than 30 people are allowed and crowded street art performances remain banned.

Local police officers will patrol the zone more often to remind visitors to wear face masks and comply with other anti-pandemic measures.

The zone, comprising Vo Thi Sau, Chu Van An and Pham Ngu Lao streets in the ancient town’s Phu Hoi Ward, has become a popular area for backpackers and locals alike, in similar fashion to the Bui Vien walking street in Ho Chi Minh City.

The pedestrian zone had been closed since early March after a British tourist who traveled to Hue and stayed at a hotel inside the backpacker zone was confirmed positive for Covid-19. He has been discharged and has flown home.

The pedestrian zone made its debut in September 2017 after authorities in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue green-lighted a proposal to create spaces for locals and tourists to hang out at nights.

On weekends, normal traffic is allowed on the streets until 6 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the walking streets are open until 2 a.m. On Sundays, they close at midnight.

The zone became an immediate hit attracting thousands of people to the area and boosting local business considerably.

Vietnam has eased its social distancing restrictions since April 23 and its popular tourist destinations have reopened after a prolonged shutdown. The government has also allowed non-essential services except karaoke parlors and discos to resume operation.

Hue was the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Vietnam's last royal family. The town is a top tourist destination, attracting 4.8 million visitors last year, up 11 percent over 2018, 2.18 million of them foreigners.

After more than two months of shutdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, Bui Vien, dubbed "Saigon beer street," in HCMC resumed operation from May 8 while Hanoi's popular walking street near the Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake reopened on May 15.

Vietnam’s Covid-19 count was 320 as of Monday morning, which marked the 32nd consecutive day without community transmission of the disease. Of the country's Covid-19 infections, 60 are active. The rest have recovered after treatment.

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