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Before COVID-19 turns Ho Chi Minh City’s famous 'backpacker street' into grocery street

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 16:14 GMT+7
Before COVID-19 turns Ho Chi Minh City’s famous 'backpacker street' into grocery street
Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed with visitors in a photo taken on a weekday at around 10:00 pm on April 11, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Many businesses on Ho Chi Minh City’s popular Bui Vien Street in District 1 have been put on hold for months as the southern metropolis has been hit hard since the beginning of the fourth virus wave on April 27.

To make ends meet and pay rent, owners of bars and discos on the street have transformed their venues into vegetable shops as a flexible business model to survive the ongoing COVID-19 suspension order.

Since October 1, the city has eased its coronavirus social distancing restrictions to allow takeaway food and drink providers, traditional markets, wholesale markets, shopping centers, and convenience stores to resume operations.

However, non-essential services and businesses, such as beauty salons, karaoke venues, discotheques, pubs, bars and massage parlors, as well as ware and lottery ticket peddling remain closed.

Before COVID-19, Bui Vien had long been a famous entertainment hub where foreign tourists could find affordable hotels to stay and a wide range of entertainment activities at numerous restaurants, bars, discotheques, and massage parlors open through the night.

Since August 20, 2017, part of the street which stretched 850 meters long from the Bui Vien intersection with Tran Hung Dao-Nguyen Thai Hoc Streets to Cong Quynh Street had been turned into a pedestrian street on weekend nights.

At the time, several businesses along Bui Vien said that their revenue had increased 50 percent thanks to the vehicle ban.

The street had not only gathered foreign tourists but also been a venue for youngsters to enjoy nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City.

A group of patrons are enjoying their food at a restaurant on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A group of patrons enjoy their food at a restaurant on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A woman is pictured while hanging out with her friend at a bar on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 at around 9:30pm on September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A woman is pictured hanging out with her friends at a bar on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City at around 9:30 pm on September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Visitors walk on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 at around 9pm on September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Visitors walk on Bui Vien Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City at around 9:00 pm on September 8, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street is pictured on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street is pictured on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street is pictured on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street is pictured on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Staff mark tables to ensure distancing to prevent COVID-19 spread at Miss Saigon bar on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Staff mark tables to ensure distancing to prevent COVID-19 spread at Miss Saigon Bar on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Foreigners visit Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Foreigners visit Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on September 7, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed with visitors in a photo taken on a weekday at around 10pm on April 11, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed with visitors in a photo taken on a weekday at around 10:00 pm on April 11, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed with visitors in a photo taken on a weekday at around 10pm on April 11, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 is packed with visitors in a photo taken on a weekday at around 10:00 pm on April 11, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Foreigners watch a game between England and Belgium for World Cup 2018 at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 20218. Photo: Nhat Dang/ Tuoi Tre

Foreigners watch a game between England and Belgium at the 2018 FIFA World Cup at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 20218. Photo: Nhat Dang / Tuoi Tre

People watch a 2018 FIFA World Cup match between England and Belgium at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 2018. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre

People watch a 2018 FIFA World Cup match between England and Belgium at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 2018. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre

A man (foreground) sprawls in a chair while watching a 2018 FIFA World Cup game at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 2018. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre

A man (foreground) sprawls in a chair while watching a 2018 FIFA World Cup game at a bar on Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien Street on June 29, 2018. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre

Fans watch the England-Belgium match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup at a bar on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on June 29, 20218. Photo: Ngoc Dong/ Tuoi Tre

Fans watch the England-Belgium match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup at a bar on Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on June 29, 20218. Photo: Ngoc Dong / Tuoi Tre

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Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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