Le Duy Toan, Director of Duy Anh Foods Import Export Co. Ltd, said his company had been closed since mid-July and had to postpone export orders.
Businesses are struggling after having to temporarily close down or meet the expenses of employees' accommodation, food and Covid tests while also limiting production, he said.
"If the city does not reopen, the situation will worsen in the coming months," he told Vietnam News.
"I would like nothing more than for my business to be able to resume production after September 30."
Pham Thi Kim Hang, founder of environment – friendly products supplier Limart – Zero Waste, told Vietnam News her shop had to close down but still pay staff wages.
It also lost customers since it was unable to deliver online orders, though recently it had been able to resume deliveries after the city eased some travel restrictions.
Dr. Tran Hoang Ngan, Director of the HCMC Institute for Research and Development, said the city could not enforce strict social distancing orders forever and would have instead to adapt to the pandemic.
Tran Viet Anh, Chairman of Thu Duc City Business Association, said especially export businesses in key fields such as textile and garment and electronics need to resume operations quickly to not lose customers to foreign competitors.
Opportunities for recovery
Trinh Tien Dung, General Director of Dai Dung Metallic Manufacture Construction and Trade Corporation, said there were a lot of opportunities for businesses returning to the market, but they would have to change their management and operations.
His company, which incurred heavy losses last year, had been investing in new sectors and focusing on digital transformation and risk management to continue doing business with overseas customers, enabling it to continue operations despite the Covid difficulties, he said.
Hang's business is also focusing on launching applications as part of digital transformation to improve its online activities so that it can operate efficiently amid the pandemic.
Many businesses, especially retailers, also prioritize vaccination against Covid, and their staff have received two shots.
They also have safety equipment and comply with safety regulations.
HCMC's Steering Committee for Pandemic Prevention and Control has issued a set of safety criteria for businesses, including requirements such as Covid-19 green cards for staff to certify their immunity and social distancing at the workplace.
Businesses need to assess their preparedness and notify local authorities, who will inspect and evaluate them before permitting resumption.
The HCMC Power Corporation will offer electricity at a discount to businesses to help them recover.
Problems with returning
Many businesses are concerned with some of the requirements.
For instance, they have to test their staff every seven days and those considered high-risk, every three days.
"The cost of Covid-19 tests for staff is a large burden and many businesses are worrying about it, not just mine," Toan of Duy Anh Foods said, hoping for more favorable policies regarding it.
However, he said that when his business could resume operations, personnel would be a problem since a number of employees had returned to their home provinces, and that it would have to plan its future production activities accordingly.
Other businesses that have been having workers live on-site are seeing them getting fatigued and wanting to go home.
Toan hoped the city would soon announce specific plans and schedules for reopening its economy after September 30 since businesses would need time to make preparations to resume.
Hang said not many people could get green cards since they had yet to receive their second shots.
"Resuming operations while the pandemic is still not completely under control can also negatively affect workers' morale since they are still afraid and may be reluctant to return to work."
Nevertheless, businesses are in agreement that all their staff should have green cards since it would mitigate the risk of disease spread and reassure people working in proximity to one another.
Businesses have also asked for tax breaks and low-interest loans to help them recover.
Hang said: "Policies from the State to assist businesses in whatever way is very necessary now since for the past few months us small to medium-sized businesses have been incurring heavy losses. Activities to stimulate sales will be needed."
Pham Duc Hai, Deputy Head of the city Steering Committee for Pandemic Prevention and Control, said authorities would consider subsidizing the high Covid test fees.
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