Hanoians adapt to disruptions caused by COVID-19

July 14, 2021 - 06:59

As Hà Nội started to impose stricter social distancing measures yesterday, locals say they are getting used to and learning to adapt to disruptions caused by the pandemic.


A resident of Hà Nội has to close her hair salon against COVID-19 pandemic. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

Vân Nguyễn & Bảo Hoa

As Hà Nội started to impose stricter social distancing measures yesterday, locals say they are getting used to and learning to adapt to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Nguyễn Trịnh Thị Lan, 75, who owned a hair salon in Hàng Trống Street, stopped receiving customers from yesterday morning.

This is not the first time I had to close our business [due to COVID-19] so I am getting used to it now,” the owner of the hair salon said.

Lan said she had prepared for this a few days ago when there was a spike in cases in Hồ Chí Minh City.

She added: “When we learned about the widespread infections in HCM City, my children told me that Hà Nội may implement social distancing measures soon so I prepared for this.” 

The city enforced restrictions on non-essential services in response to growing risks of COVID-19 transmissions from yesterday, banning all dine-in services at restaurants and other food and beverage establishments.

Hairdresser salons and barbershops must also close while the ban on outdoor physical exercise and gatherings in parks, gardens and other public places is also still in place.

An empty eatery in Hàng Trống Street on Tuesday, the first day the restrictions on non-essential service takes effect. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

The closure order came just weeks after the venues were allowed to reopen on June 21, on the condition that the capacity is capped at a maximum of 20 and the businesses close by 9pm.

Nguyễn Thúy Hằng, manager of a branch of a pizza chain in Hà Nội said her restaurant has been ready to carry out pandemic preventive measures.  

“It is good that we are still able to continue takeaway and delivery services," she said. "Many businesses in HCM City had to close completely. At least we in Hà Nội are still able to continue part of our services, which is such a good thing.”

Her staff had their working hours cut off but found it easy to accept and were not shocked as in the previous closures, she added.

Though the closure order will affect their revenues, restaurants said social distancing measures were needed to curb the spread of the virus.

Hằng’s pizza shop is located in the Old Quarter, the centre of the capital city, and used to have lots of customers with many of them being families.

Due to the pandemic, local people tend to stay at home, cook by themselves so both dine-in and delivery revenues of the restaurant have decreased.

Hằng said: “Fighting the pandemic is like fighting the enemy so we don’t expect to have time to prepare for the closure. Whenever there is an order to close, we will follow immediately without the need to be informed a few days in advance.” 

"As the number of cases starts to increase, we know that we have to prepare for the preventive measures."

Many restaurants have to rely on delivery services to survive amid COVID-19 pandemic. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

For 75-year-old Lan, who has worked in hairstyling since  the 1960s, closure means she has nothing to do and no money to earn.

“Normally when I open the hair salon, I have customers coming in and out. Having something to do makes me happy. It’s sad that I have to close the business. I can’t meet my customers and earn money,” Lan said.

“But it’s due to the pandemic, so we have to accept it. Just imagine how bad it would be if one of my customers contracted the virus,” she added.

Phạm Nhật Đức, who owns a coffee shop in the Old Quarter, used to sell about 100 cups of coffee and drinks per day, but in times like this, it’s reduced to about a quarter of that number.

He said: “To reach this decision the Government must have considered very carefully all disease prevention measures. Of course, as a shop owner, I do feel a bit shocked, because we were allowed to take in customers only a few weeks ago. But as it’s part of the larger pandemic-fighting plan, together we must comply to soon eradicate COVID-19.” 

Nguyễn Thanh Hương, a Hà Nội resident, said she felt sorry because she cannot go and hang out with friends.

Hương said: “But because of the pandemic and the whole country is trying to fight it, we are willing to comply with the regulations.”

A coffee shop in the Old Quarter has seen orders reduce by a quarter compared to before the pandemic. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

“We are always prepared, follow closely what’s said in the news about COVID and comply with the Government’s directions. So we are always prepared, physically and mentally. Fighting the pandemic is like fighting the enemy. So we know we should comply.” 

Việt Nam is experiencing the fourth wave of infections, the worst of its kind with thousands of new cases reported daily. Cases have been detected in many places and various settings including the marketplace, factories, office buildings and health establishments.

According to the General Statistics Office, the fourth wave of COVID-19 has seriously impacted workers.

In the second quarter of 2021, there were 12.8 million people aged 15 and over negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who lost their jobs, got furloughed, worked alternate shifts, reduced working hours, reduced income, according to the office.

Compared to the first quarter of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in at least 3.7 million more workers being negatively affected. The most severely affected are workers aged 25-54 with 75 per cent of the total adversely affected. VNS