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‘Zero-VND supermarket’ offers helping hand to the needy amid COVID-19

Thursday, April 23, 2020, 19:25 GMT+7
‘Zero-VND supermarket’ offers helping hand to the needy amid COVID-19
Local resident Phan Van Tai sheds tears at the heartwarming humanitarian effort of the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A recently opened supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City is offering shoppers five items of their choosing, free of charge, as part of a bid to mitigate the impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The 'Zero-VND Happy Supermarket' at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3 is the latest in a series of efforts taking place across the city meant to help lower-income residents overcome economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic.

“When I came here, everything was already in order,” said Pham Van Tai, a District 10 resident who was visiting the store to pick up groceries for a friend in need.

“The staff were so nice about helping get the items on my list that it brought me to tears.”

The Zero-VND Happy Supermarket at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is just the newest of 18 similar stores recently launched across the country by Apec Group to provide free food and essentials to those in need.

Each of the stores is designed to ensure visitors maintain at least two meters of space between themselves and other customers, as per the government’s social distancing mandate.

Local resident Chu Van Tai picks basic necessities at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Local resident Chu Van Tai picks basic necessities at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Shoppers who visit Zero-VND Happy Supermarkets throughout the country are permitted to choose up to five items with a combined value of up to VND100,000 (US$4.2) from any of the store’s three departments — food, clothing, and books.

Each visitor is allowed to visit the store twice a month between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm each weekday.  

“As of right now we plan to keep the store running for a month. We’ll likely close if the pandemic ends soon and people’s lives can return to normal,” said the Venerable Thich Thanh Phong of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.

“If things become worse, we’ll keep operating for another 3-6 months to help people during these challenging times.”

Vietnam has reported 268 COVID-19 infections with 224 having recovered.

The country has registered no new cases in the last seven days, with the overall infection rate having significantly decreased since April 4.

No virus-related fatalities have been reported in the country to date.

Customers maintain at least two meters apart while queueing at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Customers maintain at least two meters apart while queueing at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A volunteer checks the body temperature of a customer at the entrance of the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A volunteer checks the body temperature of a customer at the entrance of the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Every customer is handed a coupon to keep track of the items they have obtained at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Every customer is handed a coupon to keep track of the items they have obtained at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Volunteers assist customers at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Volunteers assist customers at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A standee with the Vietnamese motto that translates to ‘Take if you are in need. Leave for others if you are doing well.’ is seen at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A standee with the Vietnamese motto that translates to ‘Take if you are in need. Leave for others if you are doing well’ is seen at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Customers in need get access to basic necessities at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Customers in need get access to basic necessities at the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

An elderly customer leaves after having obtained the staples she needs from the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

An elderly customer leaves after having obtained the staples she needs from the ‘Zero-VND Happy Supermarket’ located at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

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