Large crowds are seen at a restaurant on Le Quang Dinh Street in HCMC’s Go Vap District, February 18, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.
Many restaurants in HCMC have been found with more than 20 guests in violation of the limit imposed by authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19.
At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday a restaurant on Le Quang Dinh Street in Go Vap District was fined VND15 million ($651.39) after inspectors found over 60 guests inside the 100-square-meter place, with tables and chairs placed close together.
The manager told them it had only reopened that day after the Lunar New Year break and could not keep out the large number of people who had come.
“The shop has more than 40 employees, so we need to do business to pay our staff salaries and cover costs.”
But he promised that from Friday it would only offer takeout foods.
The inspectors ordered him to shut immediately and send out the guests.
Guests at another restaurant on nearby Pham Van Dong Street quickly got up and left after seeing the inspectors arrive.
Its owner and those of some other eateries in Go Vap District were warned by the inspection team about the lack of distance between tables.
HCMC shut down non-essential services like bars, karaoke parlors, cinemas, and discotheques, and banned gatherings of more than 20 since February 9 following a Covid-19 outbreak that began at Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Restaurants with over 30 custoemrs were told to close while smaller ones must ensure there are not more than 10 people per table and there is a minimum distance of 1.5-2 m between guests.
VnExpress found on Thursday evening that a few eateries on Pham Van Dong Street were open but hundreds of pubs and beer bars stretching for nearly five kilometers had closed.
Many pubs on Truong Sa and Hoang Sa streets in Districts 3, Phu Nhuan and Tan Binh were also closed after being told by officers.
Duong Anh Duc, vice chairman of HCMC, said the reopening of non-essential services would depend on the pandemic situation.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at a government meeting this week that the outbreak at the airport is “basically under control.”
In HCMC, 36 people have been diagnosed with the disease, 35 of them linked to the outbreak at the airport and the other to Hai Duong.