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HCM CITY — Lưu Thế Hiển, 28, a deliveryman in HCM City, said he was rushing to deliver the last shipment of the day before 5pm, when the booking application automatically turns off until 6am the next day.
The city imposed a night restriction starting on Monday, and supermarkets, convenience stores and other essential services will only work from 6am to 6pm to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant, which continues to spread despite social distancing under Directive 16 since July 9.
Retailer Satra, who has three Satramart Saigon supermarkets and Satrafoods convenience store chain in the city, said its operating hours would be from 7am to 4:30pm.
Supermarket chains BigC, GO! and TopS Market will open from 7am to 5pm to ensure their staff can go home before 6pm.
Big C An Lạc supermarket only opens until 2pm, and MM Mega Market Vietnam closes before 5:30pm.
Retail chains VinMart and VinMart+ open from 7am to 5pm.
According to a representative of MM Mega Market Vietnam the employees stay in the supermarket after work in compliance with the city's COVID prevention measures, and they use this time to stock the shelves for the next day.
A spokesperson said: "To meet demand, the supermarket will focus on online sales. Online order processing has been improved greatly. Orders after 5pm will be processed and delivered the next day."
According to retailers, there is a concern that people will flock to supermarkets to shop during the reduced opening hours, but demand has decreased slightly following hoarding.
But they said the online business had become harder because of the 10 per cent cut in the number of delivery people mandated by the authorities.
According to an AEON Vietnam spokesperson, the supermarket has suspended online sales, including orders on the Grab and Now apps, due to a shortage of shippers. A large number of old orders are still pending.
Many grocery stores have also stopped taking orders through delivery apps because of the lack of delivery persons.
Wholesalers said they were working with the city Department of Industry and Trade to ensure goods could be delivered more easily to people in the coming days.
All apps have stopped delivery services after 5pm.
According to the Department of Industry and Trade, most of the 32 traditional markets that are still open only function in the morning.
The management of Hưng Long market in Bình Chánh District said from July 26 the working hours would be from 5.30am to 6pm.
The department said it was considering reopening more traditional markets to improve the supply of groceries and foods.
The markets are only allowed to open if they fully comply with pandemic prevention requirements like ensuring open and airy spaces and having plastic sheets separating sellers and buyers, according to the department.
Traders are encouraged to sell goods in ready-made bags and take turns to operate as only 30 per cent of them are allowed to sell in a day.
More than 10 million people in the country's largest city are under strict overnight stay-at home (from 6pm to 6am) orders until further notice, an unprecedented move to curb the fourth wave of the coronavirus.
Authorities have restricted movement in the city for more than two months, with people told to stay at home except for medical emergencies and buying essential items.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the People's Committee, said law enforcement authorities would step up patrols and penalise violators.
HCM City, currently the country's pandemic epicentre, has registered more than 68,000 cases since the end of April.
HCM City clamps down on delivery services
HCM City has imposed further restrictions on delivery services, and from July 26 only home delivery of essential goods like foodstuffs and medicine are allowed.
City officials said the next two weeks are a critical period in the battle against COVID-19, and the tough new measures should be scrupulously followed.
Delivery services have been instructed to temporarily reduce their staff numbers by 10 per cent.
For identification of their delivery people, the companies must issue a nameplate with a photo, their stamp and QR code to ensure others do not buy fake uniforms to violate lockdown rules.
The drivers need to wear an armband with the word 'Shipper' in white.
The city also mandated each delivery person can only operate within a fixed area their employer has to register.
Non-urgent businesses and construction have been suspended, banks and securities institutions are allowed to operate but with skeleton staff.
Businesses providing essential services and products like healthcare, medicines, food, and foodstuffs can operate but must ensure safety.
Other businesses can only operate if employees stay at the workplace and follow all safety regulations. Violations will be severely penalised. – VNS
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