Ho Chi Minh City authorities have proposed reopening karaoke parlors, discos, and dance clubs in response to the appeals of local karaoke service providers who said that the southern city has better controlled the COVID-19 pandemic.
This proposal was tendered on Monday, more than one month after the municipal administration made a U-turn on its decision on November 16 permitting such services to reopen after an over-six-month pause due to the coronavirus, Vu Trong Nam, director of the local Department of Culture and Sports, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The reversal, announced only two days after the said permission, was attributed to the virus still raging in the city, the local government then explained.
As the city has basically kept the pandemic at bay and has reached high vaccination coverage rates, discos, dance clubs, and karaoke bars can be allowed to operate again, Nam said.
On Friday last week, the department also sent the same proposal to the city’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the official said.
Such entertainment services were first halted on April 30, several days after the fourth and deadliest wave of infections erupted in Vietnam, with the Delta variant being dominant.
Once reopening, all service providers will be required to meet all the safety criteria for epidemic prevention and control, Nam said.
Restoration of such services will help generate jobs and meet the demand for entertainment among locals as well as tourists, thereby contributing to the city’s economic recovery, according to the department.
On December 22, the department received a petition from Nnice Karaoke Co. Ltd., asking for permission for its eight-parlor chain to resume operations.
On October 6, Icool Food and Beverage Trading and Services Co. Ltd. also submitted the same appeal to the department, Nam told Tuoi Tre.
Ho Chi Minh City had imposed various levels of social distancing since May 31 before loosening restrictions in early October, when Vietnam reached far larger vaccination coverage and began living safely with the coronavirus, the official said.
The nine-million people city had administered over 8.11 million first vaccine doses and some 7.12 million second jabs to its adult population as of Monday, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.
Recently, the city’s daily numbers of infections and fatalities have sharply fallen, to 560 and 30, respectively, on Monday, compared to the 1,773 and 65 a month earlier, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.
However, Ho Chi Minh City remains the locality suffering the most from COVID-19 in Vietnam, with 501,258 COVID-19 infection cases and 19,389 deaths documented since the pandemic hit the Southeast Asian country in early 2020.