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Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ bustling again as bars reopen

Sunday, May 10, 2020, 15:39 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ bustling again as bars reopen
People walk along an alley on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Bars have been allowed to reopen in Ho Chi Minh City following a long shutdown due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, while discos and karaoke shops are still banned.

The municipal People’s Committee on Saturday issued a document regarding the reopening of local bars.

Meanwhile, discos and karaoke shops are still required to remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, the city’s administration lifted the ban on multiple entertainment facilities and non-essential businesses, including pubs, beer clubs, cinemas, spas, beauty salons, saunas, wedding reception centers, Internet shops, and online game centers.

Local gyms were previously allowed to operate from late April.

Customers have their temperature measured before entering a bar on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Customers have their temperature measured before entering a bar on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

As bars resumed their operations, Bui Vien and nearby streets in the city’s busiest nightlife area, which is also dubbed the ‘backpacker area,’ have become bustling again.

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters on Saturday evening, Bui Vien Street was quite crowded, but most customers were Vietnamese, as the country still restricts international arrivals.

Most bars and pubs required customers to have their body temperature checked and sanitize their hands before entering.

Some venues even prepared a disinfection chamber.

Spas and other businesses are reopened on Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Spas and other businesses are reopened on Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Those who had a high body temperature would not be allowed entry to ensure safety for other customers as well as employees, said Nguyen Trung Hieu, manager of a bar on Bui Vien.

The venue was also equipped with a disinfection chamber worth VND45 million (US$1,940), Hieu added.

“The number of customers on Saturday was only at 50 percent of our expectation. But we are still happy that our business is back on track after a long suspension,” Hieu remarked.

Customers have their temperature measured before entering a bar on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Customers have their temperature measured before entering a bar on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

L.V.H., manager of a bar on Pham Ngu Lao Street, which usually serves foreigners, stated that the facility will now focus on attracting Vietnamese customers as the number of foreign visitors is still limited.

Along the alleys at 15A and 15B Le Thanh Ton Street, many bars and massage parlors have also restarted their business.

Many of these facilities offer discounts to attract more customers.

A beer parlor at Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ is crowded on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A beer parlor is crowded in Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area,' May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally currently stands at 288, with 241 having recovered.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 56 patients, of whom 50 have made a recovery.

The municipal administration started shuttering entertainment facilities and non-essential businesses on March 15 in an effort to curb the epidemic.

A massage parlor offers 30 percent discount to customers in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A massage parlor offers a 30 percent discount to customers in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A police car parks on on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A police car parks on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

People take a stroll along Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

People take a stroll along Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Smoothie stalls at Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ welcome their customers on May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Smoothie stalls serve customers in Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area,' May 9, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

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