For about a month restaurants, coffee shops and stores have been closed unless they are essential or provide delivery via Grab food or other option. Cannot go in and get food to go here. Everyone uses Grab Food.
Now the mandatory and enhanced distancing has ended and we can go out as normal but we should still try to stay home. We all must wear masks and observe required social distancing. To ensure compliance the Vietnamese police and army were out today. In force. I was not told to go home but they kindly let me know places not open to walk like sidewalks in parks or large government buildings.
As I’ve mentioned Hanoi is very gregarious and social. Coffee shops play an important role culturally and socially for people. Same as small bars and food restaurants like Pho shops. Vietnamese love the social part in life here and they love their coffee houses.
Now the enhanced rules are done and we can go out. Many places opened today for the first time in a month. I am talking about regular service and not take away. I went to my favorite coffee shop and sat for hours luxuriating in the delicious latte, it’s art and a wonderful almond croissant. I went to the local market and got satay for dinner.
Other places closed still. Government buildings like museums and the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum are closed. Malls and barbershops and hair salons closed here but could be open in Saigon. Hanoi has more active cases and there are still districts locked down with the enhanced social distancing rules.
My neighborhood is full of small shops and coffee houses. Little restaurants now opening for regular service. I could tell yesterday things were changing. Store owners and employees were cleaning up, getting ready for customers, and taking down the covid-19 signs marking them as closed. My favorite coffee shop opened at 8am. There I was at 11am with a latte and almond croissant. Then a day of walking and doing the little things in photography I love so much.
It dawned on me how truly blessed I am to be here. Vietnam is an Island of relative safety and when you see how close they are to China, it’s amazing what they accomplished. Vietnam is a poor country but how did they do no deaths due to covid-19 and now only 50 some active cases? It’s simple. They were on this since January. The government had a plan. They were flexible and transparent. They treated all with compassion and dignity but the baseline was met. Who knows with covid-19 what happens next.
I know one thing. Vietnam is truly a joy during these times. I wandered today almost 5 miles outdoors. Wherever I wanted to go. Thank you Vietnam.