Indoor dining resumes in Saigon from 28th October

Over the past three weeks, life in Saigon has largely returned to normal. Wet markets have resumed operations. Tourist attractions have opened doors to vaccinated visitors. 

And today, F&B establishments across town have been given the green light to restart indoor dining, according to the Vietnam Government Portal

Here’s what to expect.

Restaurants and cafés can operate at 50% capacity

Image credit: Lao Động 

Ho Chi Minh City is allowing all restaurants to reopen for indoor dining “starting from 28th October,” city committee deputy president Phan Thị Thắng, said in a statement.

To ensure safety, in-restaurant dining can function at 50% capacity and must cease before 9PM daily.

However,  F&B establishments outside District 7 and Thủ Đức are not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks yet. 

Needless to say, many restaurant and café owners are keen to put the pedal to the metal after a long time of suspension. 

However, there are still some that have yet to seat people, but rather are sticking to selling takeouts.

Many F&B establishments are understaffed

Image credit: Zing

Because of numerous issues regarding vaccination, logistics, and recruitment, plenty of restaurants are holding off their plans to resume indoor dining.

Thousands of people have left Saigon over the course of six months because of the pandemic, while many are still in other cities and have yet figured out a way to return with stringent border control measures in place. 

Therefore, many food joints are facing understaffing issues and not well-placed to reopen for indoor dining yet.

“For the time being, we have only eight staff members in our hotpot house. The rest are in their hometowns and they can’t return to Saigon anytime soon,” Nguyễn Diễm My, owner of  Cù Lao hotpot restaurant in Bình Thạnh told Zing. “We have over 100 dining tables and thus need at least twenty staff members to serve diners.”

Recruiting more people at the time being is also a challenge as vaccinations are still in progress for many people. All waiters and waitresses must be fully vaccinated according to Covid-19 protocols, she says.

Saigon restaurants and cafés resume indoor dining

Finally, our F&B establishments are reopening for dine-in customers. 

Even though indoor dining is a whole different ball game now with new protocols in place, we should be glad that we can finally eat inside a restaurant again after roughly half a year.

While this is good news, we strongly recommend everyone to get fully vaccinated first before using indoor dining services. 

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Cover image adapted from: San Fu Lou Cantonese Kitchen

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