Restaurants and coffee shops in Hanoi were packed on Monday as businesses reopened after the nine-day Tet holidays and people are apparently willing to run the Covid-19 gauntlet.
The capital has been reporting 2,700 cases a day, but there are few restrictions as the economy has been fully opened.
Ngoc Anh, an employee of a tech company in the downtown Dong Da District, was only able to book a lunch table for a group of 12 after calling up eight restaurants.
“Most popular restaurants said customers had booked a day in advance. Some offered to serve us after 1 p.m”.
Her group had to wait for nearly an hour for food since the restaurant was full.
Hoang Viet of Cau Giay District had to go to several restaurants to find a table for six to celebrate the first day of work in the new year.
They also had to wait 30 minutes for food to be served, with waiters saying the kitchen was overloaded.
Most seats are taken at a coffee shop in Tay Ho District, Hanoi on February 7, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tu Anh
Duy Hai, owner of a hotpot restaurant in Cau Giay District, said: “It has been a long time since our place was full. Demand has surged after a long period of restrictions”.
People using other services like ride-hailing and delivery reported rising prices, evidently a result of high demand.
Nguyen Thu said she had to pay VND60,000 to ship an item from Dong Da to Cau Giay, twice the normal rate.
Hanoi has been leading the country in the number of new Covid cases in recent weeks.
But with 77 percent of the population having been administered two doses of vaccinates, experts have been calling for a “bolder” approach to reopening.
Nguyen Si Dung, a former deputy chairman of the National Assembly Office, said after businesses reopen, authorities need to consider allowing entertainment and other services to resume before targeting domestic and international tourism recovery.
“We need to get used to accepting risks as we reopen.”
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