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Why did Ho Chi Minh City suspend food and drink takeout services?

Saturday, July 10, 2021, 11:40 GMT+7
Why did Ho Chi Minh City suspend food and drink takeout services?
Delivery workers are waiting to pick up orders at a restaurant on Calmette Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 3 on March 30, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have halted all food and drink takeout services for 15 days from Friday, as part of the city’s social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16 for COVID-19 prevention and control.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday night, Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said the city had thoroughly considered all options before making a decision, claiming that “no decision perfect.”

According to Duc, food and drink takeout services would easily fail to obey the Directive No. 16’s measures because of the amount of delivery workers and drivers that typically gather together at a narrow space while waiting to pick up orders.

Under the directive, citizens are required to maintain a minimum distance of two meters.

Any gathering of more than two people outside public offices, schools, hospitals, and in public spaces is completely banned.

Duc explained that even small banh mi stalls often have at least two staff each, so the number of people at a stall actually becomes three if a delivery worker come to pick the food.

“It was hard for the city to consider suspending every single kind of service,” Duc said.

“Now it’s time to be more drastic in solutions, so we need the sympathy and understanding of the people.”

At the conference, the deputy chairman also said that charity activities to distribute food to poor people during the period are still allowed if organizers can ensure social distancing measures, including limiting gatherings to just two people.

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