Masks a must, crowds a no no as Vietnam’s famous beaches reopen

By Nguyen Quy   May 4, 2020 | 06:02 am PT
Masks a must, crowds a no no as Vietnam’s famous beaches reopen
A beach in Nha Trang on May 4, 2020, the first day it was reopened following the country's social distancing ease. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
Vietnam’s famous beaches are welcoming visitors again, but they have to wear masks and avoid gatherings of more than 30 people.

All beaches in the country had closed down for more than a month as the nation battled the Covid-19 pandemic with strict travel restrictions and a social distancing campaign.

The central town of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province reopened public beaches Monday, warning all visitors to wear face masks while on the beaches and banning gatherings of more than 30 people.

Nha Trang has been a top holiday destination in the country for years, favored particularly by Russian and Chinese tourists for its long sandy beaches and islands. It had closed all beaches since April 1.

The 12-km beach along Tran Phu Street in Nha Trang saw hundreds flock to it on Monday after social distancing restrictions were eased. However, many of the beach-goers did not wear face masks.

Dang Minh, a Nha Trang resident, said: "After more than a month at home, we really missed the sea. This morning, after the local authorities reopened public beaches, we woke up early at 5:30 a.m. to exercise and enjoy the fresh air." 

The northern province of Quang Ninh, home to UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, resumed tourism activities and allowed the reopening of public beaches from May 1.

However, all safety precautions including maintaining a safe distance between people have to be observed, local authorities have insisted. The province had closed all tourist destinations and suspended tourism activities after detecting seven infections. So far, only two of these have been discharged from hospital.

Sam Son beach of Thanh Hoa Province and Cua Lo beach of Nghe An Province, both in central Vietnam, allowed visitors to return on April 30, the beginning of a four-day holiday including the weekend.

Sam Son received 40,000 visitors while Cua Lo welcomed more than 12,000 beach-goers during the holiday.

Sam Som beach in Thanh Hoa Province is flooded with huge crowds of beach-goers on April 30, 2020. Photo acquired by VnExpress. 

Sam Som beach in Thanh Hoa Province on April 30, 2020. Photo acquired by VnExpress. 

The popular Quy Nhon beach in Binh Dinh Province and Da Nang, a city renowned for beautiful beaches, have allowed swimming starting April 23, but no crowds are allowed.

Many popular destinations saw few tourists during the four-day holiday despite the relaxation of social distancing restrictions.

The number of tourists to Da Nang City during the holiday declined by 98.5 percent year-on-year to 5,800, according to the municipal Tourism Department.

Binh Thuan Province, home to the highly popular beach resort town of Mui Ne, resumed tourism services on April 23 alongside measures to stop crowds from gathering. The number of visitors to Mui Ne during the holiday was 35,000, down by half year-on-year, official data shows.

A beach in Da Nang on April 30, 2020. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

A beach in Da Nang City, central Vietnam, on April 30, 2020. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

In a rare case, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, whose Vung Tau beach town is one of the most popular destinations in southern Vietnam, is yet to reopen its beaches. However, many beach-goers ignored the ban and flocked to Vung Tau on April 30- May 1, prompting local police to stand guard and prevent the gathering of large crowds on the beach.

Vietnam received 3.7 million foreign visitors in Jan-April, a 38 percent drop year-on-year, as a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism revenues dropped 45 percent to VND7.9 trillion ($337 million).

The country has banned entry for foreign nationals since March 22, except for special cases. Since March 25, international flights have been suspended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Vietnam recorded no fresh Covid-19 case Monday evening, marking its 18th day without any community transmission. It has confirmed 271 coronavirus cases to date, of which 50 are active. The active cases include 14 relapses.

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