Shop owners happy to be back after social distancing

April 23, 2020 - 22:27

Shops reopened yesterday in Hà Nội after three weeks of a social distancing order was issued to tackle COVID-19.

Watch our video on people's take on the Government's decision to ease social distancing policy

By Minh Hương

HÀ NỘI — Shops reopened yesterday in Hà Nội three weeks after a social distancing order was issued to tackle COVID-19.

Lê Mỹ Hạnh, the owner of a women's fashion store on Đội Cấn Street, returned carrying a big bunch of flowers to offer to the God of Wealth on the first day of the lunar month.

Opening her shop at 10am, Hạnh told Việt Nam News that although it was raining and a bit colder than previous days, it was still a good day.

The wholesale shops on the streets of Hàng Ngang, Hàng Đào and Hàng Đường opened much earlier.

Nguyễn Minh Hằng, the owner of a shop on Hàng Đào Street, said: “It's raining this morning, so we've not made many sales, but it is good to be open again.”

Despite the rain, people are out for cups of coffee in Hoè Nhai Street after the social distancing is eased in the capital city on  April 23. — Photo Quang Dân 

Hằng thought distancing would continue for another 10-to-15 days, or maybe more.

"Though the distancing has eased, people are still worried about the virus and scared of making contact like we used to," she said.

"Clients are keeping their distance in my shop, which is quite uncomfortable for both parties. Normally, I talk to my customers after they try on clothes to see if they like them.

"There is no way we can do that now. I'm sure I'd be able to sell more clothes if I could interact more with customers," said Hạnh.

"Business won't return to normal until people feel secure about their health and incomes," she added.

Nguyễn Thi Oanh, the owner of Cafe Chất on Quán Thánh Street, said she had received calls "begging her to deliver coffee" from regular customers.

"I could have let them in to have a coffee but I didn't because I knew it was wrong," she said.

"Now I am happy to see some of them again after social distancing. I've been preparing the coffee since yesterday as I knew there would be a lot of clients today," Oanh said.

Despite the weather, Oanh was still busy serving customers at the cafe and online.

"I should mention that we've rearranged the tables to follow distancing regulations," she added.

As the best known gold firm in the city, Bảo Tín Minh Châu made an announcement on its Facebook fan page on the evening of April 22 that it would open the following day.

The firm told its clients to continue following safety measures such as wearing face masks and using hand cleanser in the shops.

While clothing shops, cafes, restaurants and gold shops have been allowed to resume business, the city has not allowed bars, karaoke joints, massage parlours or video game shops to reopen. They will be closed until at least April 30.

A coffee drinker at Oanh's cafe told Việt Nam News: "I just came here for a bit to feel like things are back to normal."

He added that he was proud of what Viet Nam had done so far, adding that although no new cases had been reported in the last seven days, safety must still be taken seriously. — VNS