As a month-long ban on non-essential businesses was eased on Tuesday morning, Hanoi dwellers were seen going out in droves to resume their normal routines at local eateries and barbershops.
On May 25, all barbershops, dine-in eateries, and beverage outlets in Hanoi were forced to close and completely switch to takeaway services, pursuant to an order by the municipal authority to curb the fourth wave of coronavirus in the capital city.
On Tuesday, they were allowed to reopen their sit-in operations, provided that they put no more than 50 percent of their full seating capacity to service or receive no more than 20 customers at a time, close before 9:00 pm, place barriers between seats, and ensure safe distancing, among other preventive measures.
As witnessed by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper correspondents on Tuesday morning, Hanoi dwellers showed up early at their favorite food stalls and coffee shops to try their first sit-down dining experience in almost a month.
Queues also formed in front of barbershops and hairdressers in the city.
|Anh Thai, owner of a barbershop in Hanoi, serves a customer at his shop on the reopening day, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
|Tools in a barbershop in Hanoi are put to use for the first time in a month, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
Cao Van Thai, 26, owner of a barbershop on Pham Ke Binh Street in Ba Dinh District, said he only had a few hours on Monday evening to prepare for the reopening, as the decision from Hanoi authorities came late into the night.
“I’m glad that my store can finally be reopened, and I can finally get to work instead of sitting around,” he said.
According to Thai, an abnormally big crowd, consisting of mostly male customers, had queued up in front of his shop, yearning for a fresh cut after days of social distancing.
|A customer gets his hair trimmed in a barbershop in Hanoi, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
|Hanoi residents enjoy drinks at a coffee shop, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
Lines of customers were also seen at another barbershop on Lang Street in Dong Da District.
Ngo Quang Huy, 24, a waiting customer, said he had booked a time slot with the shop earlier, which was why he did not have to queue.
Huy eagerly looked forward to his turn as he had not got his hair cut for four weeks.
“They opened at 9:00 am, but I had arrived at 8:00 am,” Huy said.
“Normally, the place is not packed until the afternoon, but for today people have shown up in droves since the early morning.”
Food stalls and coffee shops were also open in time to welcome back sit-in diners longing for their favorite treats.
|A diner enjoys a bowl of pho in a food stall in Hanoi, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
Most sit-in stalls in Cau Giay and Ba Dinh Districts were equipped with divider panels and hand sanitizers to ensure safety for their customers.
These places required their customers to keep a safe distance and abide by epidemic prevention guidelines.
Kieu Viet Khanh, a local resident, said he had been craving a bowl of pho for weeks.
“The first thing I did this morning was get myself some pho," Khanh said.
"I think all Hanoians did the same.”
|Hand sanitizer bottles are prepared in a coffee shop in Hanoi, June 22, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
Dinh Tien Dung, secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, told the press on Monday that the restrictions on sit-in services are only eased, not fully lifted.
“We will consider easing services that are deemed more essential before others,” he said.
From April 27, Hanoi has recorded 466 local cases of COVID-19 in 13 clusters, becoming the locality with the fourth-highest number of infections in Vietnam, after Bac Giang Province, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bac Ninh Province.
However, the infection rate in the city has slowed down in the past few days, with the last case recorded in an isolated area on June 19.