HCMC reopens food takeaways, but citizens are skeptical

Due to the heavy Covid-19 outbreak that’s been going on in Vietnam since May, Ho Chi Minh City has shut down all non-essential businesses such as food stalls for a couple of months now.

While authorities have been trying their best to provide groceries for citizens, most people are longing for the day things open up again, so they can eat out for a change of pace from their regular home-cooked meals.

But now that the city has allowed food stalls to sell takeaways again, many are still skeptical. Here’s why.

HCMC food stalls must only sell via delivery services

Image credit: VNExpress

Yesterday, HCMC issued Document 2994/UBND-ĐT, listing some changes in Covid-19 restriction rules in the city.

Of these changes, one thing that attracts attention from the community is the reopening of food stalls. Starting from 8th September, food shops in the city is allowed to sell takeaways between 6AM to 6PM. However, this new rule comes with several conditions.

First of all, these services must apply to local authorities to obtain a travel permit. Additionally, all working staff must have had at least 1 vaccine shot, and they must be tested for Covid-19 every two days.

Finally, citizens are not allowed to personally go to these food stalls to buy for themselves. Instead, they must order online via delivery services.

Citizens point out issues with the new rules

hcmc food takeaways 2
Image credit: Zing News

One would expect Saigon residents to be thrilled at being able to grab their favorite snacks again, but in truth, many are skeptical that the new system isn’t going to work.

An issue people point out is that since citizens must order online, they must pay extra for delivery services, which cost a lot more compared to before the pandemic as fewer drivers are allowed to operate while demands for them are high.

With most people under financial difficulties due to the outbreak, it’s unlikely that many can afford to order food online, which means food stalls won’t have many customers to sell to.

Image credit: VNExpress

“You’re allowed to sell but not to buy. You need shippers [delivery drivers], and sometimes the fee can cost as much as the food,” a reader commented under VNExpress’ report of the new regulations.

Another concern is that since the supply chain is interrupted, it’s not easy for food stalls to get ingredients.

Image credit: VNExpress

“Sounds cool at first, but can the stalls even get enough ingredients now that the supply chain is broken?”, a commenter pointed out.

It’s worth taking one step at a time toward a “new normal”

While the problems citizens have pointed out are valid, the new regulations are at least a step toward coping with the disease and reopening the city again.

For now, try ordering from your favorite food shop if you want, but don’t be too upset if you can’t yet. Time will tell if this new system works, and further adjustments can always be made to address issues.

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Cover image adapted from VNExpress

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