Workers at phở restaurant "phoinmoscow" in Russia prepare dishes for healthcare workers. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Hiếu
MOSCOW — A restaurant chain owned by Vietnamese in Moscow has offered free “phở” for COVID-19 frontline health workers at nearby hospitals and healthcare centres despite business difficulties caused by the pandemic.
The restaurant “Phoinmoscow” located in Moscow’s Kashirskaya Plaze belongs to a Vietnamese family.
The restaurant owner Phạm Hồng Anh said that since the middle of last month, her family’s restaurant started providing lunch for 40 healthcare workers in their neighbourhood.
Free bowls of phở, the iconic Vietnamese dish, each costing about 300-350 roubles (US$5) are provided daily to hospitals and healthcare centres in Moscow.
Hồng Anh said at the beginning of the campaign, they covered costs for the food and delivery.
However, 40 meals were not enough, she said, adding that she and her husband decided to raise funds through their website phoinmoscow.ru.
“I’m so happy that many Vietnamese in Moscow welcome the idea and support us,” Hồng Anh said.
The restaurant is now able to provide 80 free lunches for frontline healthcare workers in neighbouring hospitals and healthcare centres.
The meal campaign is expected to last until the middle of this month, when the city’s lockdown, which started on March 30, was planned to be lifted.
It is reported that about 500 restaurants owned by Vietnamese people operate in Moscow. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have faced serious difficulties such as high rental costs, salaries and an urgent need to boost online trade.
As Moscow planned to ease coronavirus restrictions from June 1, only shopping malls and parks are set to reopen. Moscow is considered the epicentre of Russia's outbreak.
Hồng Anh said that their phở restaurant chain opened three weeks ago but just received online orders and delivered the food themselves or through their partners Yandex and Delivery.
She said that during the pandemic, the restaurant’s revenue was only 20 per cent of that before the pandemic.
Although their business faced difficulties because of COVID-19, they still wanted to help the host country in the fight against the pandemic, she said.
On May 14, Việt Nam’s Embassy to Russia established a network of Vietnamese to fight against COVID-19.
The network attracted Vietnamese people, both living in Russia and Việt Nam, including doctors, healthcare workers, students and post-graduates.
Leading doctors in Việt Nam offered consultation to treat COVID-19 patients in Russia via online meetings, telephones or other apps.
In Russia, doctors and post-graduates helped examine patients, identify suspected cases, and offer at-home treatment for those with light symptoms, which helped reduce the burden for the local healthcare sector.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese people also handed out free face masks for local residents.
Vietnamese people in Sadovod in Lyublino were reportedly making face masks and giving them out free of charge. — VNS