The makeshift market has 11 stations stretched out an area of 40 square meters. Each station is placed around five meters apart and sells various grocery items including meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.
Due to the ongoing social distancing order, residents of the Phuoc Vinh An Commune cannot travel to a different area to buy food.
“The commune has no traditional market, so we had to erect one on a football field to meet people’s demands,” said Nguyen Hong Tam, deputy chairwoman of the commune.
As early as 5:30 a.m., hundreds of residents lined up to purchase food. Before entering the market, they had to make medical declarations and have their body temperatures checked.
Only seven people could go to the market area at a time.
Vendors at the market must have tested negative for the coronavirus within three days of setting up their stall. The stalls had plastic screens, tapes and hand sanitizers as coronavirus prevention measures.
Nguyen Hung Ha, a vendor, occasionally called out his wares to attract customers. He and his wife have been selling vegetables at the Tan Phu Trung Market in the eponymous commune for the last 23 years, but they had to stop because of the pandemic.
Dozens of militia members, People’s Committee officials and other volunteers were present at the market to keep order and ensure compliance with coronavirus control measures.
Within just 30 minutes, Nguyen Thi Hong Loan managed to sell all 50 kg of fish. She heard locals were lacking fresh fish, so she decided to stock more.
“I sold them at a reasonable price because pandemic has prevented people from making money,” she said.
Ta Thi Thuy, 38, carries her purchases of several bags of food after spending over an hour to buy them.
“A few days ago I wasn’t even able to buy green onions or rice vermicelli at the local supermarket,” she said.
The makeshift market in Phuoc Vinh An is open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day except Sunday. Around 500 people come to the market each day.
HCMC has recorded 81,781 local Covid-19 cases after the fourth coronavirus wave hit Vietnam late April. After 20 days of strict social distancing, the southern city is now considering extending the restrictions by another one to two weeks.
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