After seeing initial success, authorities in Nha Trang City are expanding their roadside grocery market initiative to ensure food security for local residents during the ongoing social distancing period.
The market model is currently run in 23 wards and communes of the coastal city, located in Khanh Hoa Province in south-central Vietnam, and is divided into two categories.
Locations in 'green zones,' or areas deemed at low risk of transmission, will be open to all residents, while those in 'red zones', 'orange zones,' or 'yellow zones' — codes for areas of higher risk in Nha Trang’s classification system — will only welcome neighborhood leaders or members of pandemic response teams, who are tasked with grocery purchase and distribution for local households.
However, these stalls are not run in four wards and communes, including Vinh Luong, Vinh Phuoc, Vinh Tho, and Vinh Tuong, due to the strict movement curb mandates there.
One of the coronavirus-safe markets can be found on Ba Trieu Street in Phuong Sai Ward.
It offers vegetables, fruits, meat, dried products, and other essentials at stalls that are spaced out 2-3 meters away from one another.
Each stall can welcome only one customer at a time, and the sellers must stay at least two meters away from the buyers.
To avoid direct contact, buyers are instructed to put their money and receive their items in baskets prepared by sellers.
The market’s entrances are guarded by officers who constantly remind market-goers to keep their masks up and maintain a safe distance.
|A Nha Trang City resident declares his information before entering a makeshift market. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre|
In Tap Lap Ward, a safe market has also been erected on Huynh Thuc Khang Street.
With only six stalls opening 7:00 am - 6:00 pm every day, the market manages to offer a wide range of essential items that match the locals’ demand.
During its closing hours, the stalls will be fumigated to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection.
Vendors are required to declare the origin of their products, ensure food safety, and sell items at their listed prices, said Dang Thi Phuong Mai, chairman of the Tan Lap People’s Committee.
|A member of a response team in Nha Trang City picks up grocery orders for local residents at a coronavirus-safe food stall. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre|
A solution that strikes a balance between food distribution and epidemiological safety, the roadside market initiative has won over dwellers in Nha Trang.
Le Ngoc Hoi, 38, a resident in Tan Lap Ward, said going to the market allows her to check the items before she buys them.
She does not have to wait for hours until her food arrives, which has been the case for supermarket delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All are available here at a reasonable price. I only need to pick what I want, weigh them at an automatic scale, and pay the seller,” Hoi said.
Nguyen Thi Bich Thao, a member of an epidemic response team in Phuong Sai Ward, speaks highly of the coronavirus-safe stalls.
“Our team will distribute order slips to households before they fill in what they need and send them back to us. Based on these orders, we will pick up items and distribute them to each resident the next day,” Thao explained.
“Since the roadside market is open on Ba Trieu Street, our work has been much easier.”
|Local residents buy food at a coronavirus-safe grocery stall in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre|
Le Thi Huong, a vendor from Van Thanh Ward, also benefits from the initiative, as it offers her an opportunity to resume business after the Dam Market, where she used to peddle, was recently shuttered over COVID-19 cases.
“I signed up immediately after hearing about the initiative,” Huong said.
“Thanks to it, sellers like us can trade products to the community during the pandemic.”
|A market-goer weighs her item befeore paying a seller at a makeshift market in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre|
All roadside market locations are running smoothly after one week of launch, according to Luu Thanh Nhan, deputy chairman of the Nha Trang People’s Committee.
“The Nha Trang People’s Committee encourages lower-level authorities to consider realistic situations and consult the local economic affairs office before opening new makeshift markets,” Nhan stated.