Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are handing out market coupons to go to the market on alternate days under various time frames in order to avoid large gatherings at grocery stores or markets.
During a meeting on the third day of social distancing, Dinh Tien Dung, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, directed the city’s Department of Industry and Trade to study the form of market coupons to be distributed citywide. He said the market coupons are necessary to maintain social distancing measures and requested Hanoi to study and implement immediately.
Nhat Tan ward and Buoi ward of Tay Ho district were the first two localities to pilot the model of distributing market coupons to local residents from July 27. Each household gets four market coupons during 15 days of social distancing. Each household can go to the market four times a week, alternately at a certain time on even or odd days and Sundays, for at most one hour a day.
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According to chairman of Nhat Tan People’s Committee Dang Huu Tien, areas with a large number of workers and crowded accommodation areas will be divided into groups. Each group will send a focal point in charge of making a list of essential goods and purchasing according to this list for the whole group. Hanoi currently has 459 markets, 123 supermarkets, 1,800 convenience stores, 2,382 stores selling price-stable goods, and tens of thousands of grocery stores.
In addition to the system of supermarkets, traditional markets in Hanoi all tightened regulations on pandemic prevention such as erecting checkpoints, measuring the temperature of customers entering the markets, and temporarily suspending operations with non-essential items. Some places also require small businesses to keep a sales diary at the market with full information such as name, phone number, and time of transaction.
In Ho Chi Minh City, many people living around District 3, District 7, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh, Thu Duc city, and Binh Chanh and Hoc Mon districts have also received market coupons to buy necessities.
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City asked localities to distribute coupons widely due to the large number of people heading out to buy goods. While the city is tightening pandemic prevention measures, all activities are to be suspended except for emergency medical care or pandemic fight operations from 6pm until 6am the following day.