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Ho Chi Minh City’s iconic Ben Thanh Market reopens amid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Ho Chi Minh City’s iconic Ben Thanh Market reopens amid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Wednesday, October 06, 2021, 18:03 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City’s iconic Ben Thanh Market reopens amid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions
One of the four fronts of Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ben Thanh Market, one of the oldest markets and a symbol of Vietnam’s southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City, has resumed operations amid COVID-19 restriction easing after months of lockdown. 

The market has reopened as the city and the country in general are loosening strict COVID-19 restrictions, which had been applied for several months, to restart socio-economic activities under ‘new normal conditions,’ a phrase the Vietnamese government uses to describe its new strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.

Both traders and market-goers at Ben Thanh, located in the heart of District 1, are required to comply with epidemic prevention rules.

A resident has her QR code scanned for vaccination history check before entering the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A resident has her QR code scanned for a vaccination history check before entering Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

The market has reopened with 70 stalls, which mainly provide vegetables, meat, and other essential items.  

People have to undergo health declarations, vaccination history checks, body temperature measurement, and hand sanitization before entering the market. 

In order to avoid congestion, the market management board has arranged separate entrances and exits for market-goers, who are required to keep a safe distance. 

There are transparent partitions between the sellers and buyers and baskets are used for receipt of payment and delivery of goods.

Nguyen Phuong Anh, an office employee in District 1, is seen buying vegetables at a stall in the Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Phuong Anh, an office employee in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City is seen buying vegetables at a stall at Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

“About 150 traders initially registered for reopening, but the actual number is 70 today,” said Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy head of the market's guard team.

All traders are required to have two COVID-19 vaccine doses, have a coronavirus test every three days, use partitions and hand sanitizers, and follow other epidemic prevention rules.

“I feel very happy when the market reopens. I am a veteran trader at this market, selling goods not only to consumers but also to wholesale purchasers,” said Ong Thi Muoi, a dealer of processed foods. 

Nguyen Quynh Lam, a shopper, also expressed her cheer at the market’s reoperation.

“Sellers here comply with epidemic prevention rules, and I feel secure when market-goers are provided with the separate entries and exits.”

A scene of trading at the Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A scene of trading at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

When shopping at a supermarket, buyers have to spend a long time standing in line and feel insecure because of crowds, Lam elaborated. 

Ho Chi Minh City is the hardest-hit locality in Vietnam since the beginning of its fourth virus wave on April 27, with more than 400,100 local infections and over 15,200 fatalities.

Infections have decelerated in recent times while the majority of the local population have been given at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

City authorities started relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions on October 1 after having enacted various social distancing levels since late May, in a bid to gradually reopen the economy.

The Ben Thanh Market, built by a French contractor in 1912 and completed in 1914, now has an area of over 13,000 square meters. 

In January 2012, the market was selected as one of 10 destinations having the most attractive street food on the planet by Food and Wine magazine.

The market has long been a symbol of the city and a must-see attraction for both domestic and international travelers.

A trader is seen gesturing to express joy at the reopening of Ben Thanh Market after months of lockdown. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A trader is seen gesturing to express joy at the reopening of Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City after months of lockdown. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Quynh Lam, a market goer, is seen putting money into a basket at the Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Quynh Lam, a market-goer, is seen putting money into a basket at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

This photo shows fish and other seafood on sale at the Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

This photo shows fish and other seafood on sale at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

This image shows one of the 70 traders resuming operation at the Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

This image shows one of the 70 traders resuming operations at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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