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Business significantly slow at Saigon's once-crowded Ben Thanh Market

Monday, June 22, 2020, 21:20 GMT+7
Business significantly slow at Saigon's once-crowded Ben Thanh Market
Booths at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City are closed as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for at least three months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Although Vietnam has eased its social distancing mandate to prevent COVID-19 spread for more than a month, the absence of foreign tourists has hurt local businesses, especially those depending on tourism.

Monday marked Vietnam’s 67th day without COVID-19 transmission in the community.

However, the country has yet opened its doors to foreigners.

A famous attraction for visitors, especially foreigners, to Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market in District 1 has suffered as a result.

Currently, while a few booths are still open at the market, more than half have been temporarily closed or completely shut down.

Some sellers have tried to put their booths for rent.

Ben Thanh Market looked like a real 'ghost town' early this month when all booths were closed and nobody was around, Mai Anh, a seller at the market, said, adding that business gets a little better now.

“I have incurred losses since COVID-19 started to break out in Vietnam,” complained Ho Hoang Sang, who has run his business at Ben Thanh for the past 20 years.

“I guess more booths will close down as we haven't been given any tax reduction.

“Those who sell food can only earn 30 percent of their pre-pandemic revenue.

“We were open from morning to 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm before but now we're closed at 2:00 pm.

“We’ve tried to survive but we're running out of all resources.

"So we have to shut down."

Tenants are unable to transfer their lease contracts to other people as booth owners refused to lower rent.

Booths at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City are closed as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Booths at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City are closed as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for at least three months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A seller puts his booth up for rent at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

A seller puts his booth up for rent at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, as the venue has received almost no foreign tourists, its major customers, for at least three months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Minh Huong who sells fruits at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City said her shop has had to struggle since Tet as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Minh Huong who sells fruits at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City says her shop has had to struggle for at least three months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Once crowded Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City has turned sparse these days as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Khanh Tran / Tuoi Tre

Business is significantly slow at the once-crowded Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City given the absence of foreign visitors due to COVID-19. Photo: Khanh Tran / Tuoi Tre

Many longtime sellers said they have never seen Ben Thanh Market as gloomy as it has been these days. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Many long-time sellers say they have never seen Ben Thanh Market as gloomy as it is at the moment. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thanh Van, 43, a seller at Ben Thanh Market complains as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thanh Van, 43, a seller at Ben Thanh Market, grows bored as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, its major customers, for at least three months because of COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Sellers chit chat to kill time as Ben Thanh Market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Sellers chat to kill time as Ben Thanh Market has become almost void of customers on account of COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Most booths at the eating areas in Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh Market have to close as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Most food stalls at Ben Thanh Market have closed down because of a lack of foreign visitors who are their main customers. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Groceries booths have seen an over 60 percent loss in the number of customers compared to before. Photo: Khanh Tran/ Tuoi Tre

Grocer stalls have seen an over-60-percent drop in the number of customers. Photo: Khanh Tran / Tuoi Tre

Once crowded Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 turns sparse in the morning of June 10, 2020. The market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 has welcomed almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for at least three months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Shops selling craft souvenirs at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City have to close as the market has received almost no foreign tourists, the place’s major customers, for months due to COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan/ Tuoi Tre

Many craft souvenir shops at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City are closed due to the absence of foreign tourists caused by COVID-19. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

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