No air-conditioners and no alcoholic drinks are among the COVID-19 prevention regulations that eateries in HCM City need to meet to be able to receive dine-in customers.
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the HCM City Food Safety Management Board, explained that alcohol would not be allowed because it would cause customers to stay back longer, increasing the risk of infection.
But notably, there will be no stipulation on the maximum number of customers at a same venue.
With the city announcing the conditions, many restaurants are scrambling to get ready for the reopening after a long period of closure.
Tran Quoc Thinh, a restaurant owner in Phu Nhuan District, said in the past few days he has got his staff back to work, and they are busy cleaning, rearranging tables and chairs and preparing raw materials.
But many others are not prepared to reopen because the two-metre social distancing requirement would not be practicable.
Tran Minh Vy, the owner of an eatery in Tan Phu District, has no plans of reopening yet and wants to wait for more details from authorities before making a decision. Since the city authorities have said customers must comply with the 5k message of the Ministry of Health, including social distance, he has interpreted it to mean customers must sit at least two metres apart.
Shortage of workers is also a reason why many restaurants are unable to reopen.
The department said the closure of businesses for nearly four months had caused food and beverage sales to fall by 620 per cent in the first eight months of the year to VND32 trillion.
Many had to close for good, which also affected the real estate rental market, it added. — VNS
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