By An Phương
HCM CITY — After nearly two weeks of reopening, many locals in HCM City say they are enjoying the "new normal" life.
Ngọc Ánh, 28, told Việt Nam News that she had never realised how delicious a cup of coffee at her favourite cafe could be.
"I've been drinking instant coffee every morning for the last three months. It got to the point where I had forgotten the smell of fresh coffee beans. Now that I'm able to order coffee and on sunny days take a ride to my favorite cafe for takeaways, I feel extremely grateful," she said.
Ánh, who is staying in District 2, said that not many people in her neighbourhood are out on the streets, even during peak hours.
"I think I can understand why. We are all afraid and very much aware that unnecessary trips outside can cause unwanted COVID-19 infections and outbreaks. Even though it initially took me by surprise, I'm happy that we are all on the same page on epidemic control and prevention," Ánh said.
Thành Thái, 45, said that he had finally been able to have a haircut.
"I've been waiting for this day for so long. Who would have thought that having a haircut could be a luxury? On the first day of October when HCM City reopened, I quickly booked a slot with my barber. I have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so I am confident going out,” Thái said.
Getting a haircut has also been on many people's to-do lists.
Many barber shops and hair salons have announced on their Facebook Pages that they are fully booked until late October. Due to social distancing rules, all barber shops have been operating at 50 per cent capacity and most customers have to book in advance to secure a slot.
A barber in Bình Thạnh District said that he felt relieved to be able to open his shop after many months of lockdown.
"Although business is not as good as it was before, I'm grateful that life is gradually getting back to normal," he said, adding that he felt lucky that his customers still remembered him.
Gratitude has been on many people's minds. Compared to months ago when people could casually hang out and talk about anything, being able to keep in touch and know that others are still healthy has been good enough.
As businesses open up, office workers are worried about the new work schedule. While some are excited to be fully back at work, many are concerned about the potential spread of coronavirus at the workplace.
"5K rules are a must! But I can't help but feel unsure after being called for offline work four days a week," Thanh Tùng, 32, said.
Duy Anh, a banker, said that he had become familiar with the online work mode.
"Days at home have taught me that as long as we set a clear agenda with realistic targets and action plans, our work efficiency will be relatively the same both offline and online," he said.
Duy Anh now visits the office twice a week to do some paperwork.
"I just had a conversation with a friend in the Human Resources department at another company and he told me that a large number of employees at his company actually prefer working from home to working at the company," he said, adding that employees' hesitation to be back at work is understandable, considering that the pandemic is not over yet.
Meanwhile, Quỳnh Thơ has a slightly different view, saying that the lockdown has introduced a new way of working.
“It does not necessarily replace the traditional offline mode but instead has created an opportunity for employees to re-evaluate their perception of work and provided them with the flexibility to better thrive.”
"Online and offline modes of work should go hand in hand with equal focus. We cannot completely avoid offline interactions, regardless of the ongoing pandemic. It is more important to be mindful of the current situation, vaccinate, and always try to take good care of ourselves," she added.
The pandemic has left many locals with life struggles, but they are trying to enjoy every little moment in life. All are glad that HCM City has gradually recovered from gloomy days.
"We all need to seek positivity to live a quality life. Even though I had to switch from selling clothes to vegetables and lost a significant amount of income, I'm grateful that I'm still healthy enough to go on to the next page," Thu Trang, 45, said.
HCM City is not the same as it used to be, but the “new normal” life will definitely be a brighter chapter. — VNS
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