It's 9:30 a.m. and Le Thi Huong, manager of a bar on Bui Vien Street, once the city’s busiest night-time hotspot for foreign tourists, arranges tables and chairs to prepare for a new day. Her bar has switched to selling com tam (broken rice with grilled pork, pig skin, egg and fish sauce) in the morning and serving snail dishes at night as HCMC has not yet allowed bars, karaoke parlors and beer clubs to resume operations. “Only a few customers visit my shop these days and we have to close it by 9 p.m. as a pandemic prevention measure,” she said. “The rents are very high and income from selling food is not enough to make a profit but we still have to open for business to cover daily expenses and pay staff salaries.” The plan to welcome foreign tourists back to the city without mandatory quarantine from December has lit up Huong's hopes after two years of pandemic-enforced border closure. “The arrival of foreign tourists would give us a chance to revive business and escape the current nightmare,” Huong said. “Most tourism related businesses in Bui Vien have accepted to pay high rent and invested a lot of… Read full this story
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