Shop owners happy to be back after social distancing

Thursday, Apr 23, 2020 22:27

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

Shops reopened on Thursday in Ha Noi three weeks after a social distancing order was issued to tackle COVID-19.

Le My Hanh, the owner of a women's fashion store on Doi Can 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, Hanh told Viet 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 Hang Ngang, Hang Dao and Hang Duong opened much earlier.

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

Hang 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 Hanh.

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

Nguyen Thi Oanh, the owner of Cafe Chat on Quan Thanh 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, Bao Tin Minh Chau 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 Viet 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

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