- A bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam recently banned Chinese customers, saying the ban was to “protect the health of our guests.”
- A representative for the bar said on Tuesday that it was no longer banning Chinese customers, and instead asking customers to wear masks and wash their hands.
- Other business in Vietnam, as well as South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong have also refused to allow Chinese customers to enter.
- Vietnam’s economy is expected to lose billions of dollars due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the country’s tourism department saying that it expects to see $US3 billion to $US4 billion in direct damage.
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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – A bar in Ho Chi Minh City banned Chinese customers, as Vietnam attempts to stem the spread of coronavirus.
“To protect the health of our guests Chaos Lounge would not serve Chinese,” read a sign on the door of Chaos Lounge, spotted by Business Insider last week. “Thanks for your cooperation!”
On Tuesday, following the original publication of this article, Chaos Lounge told Business Insider that it was no longer banning Chinese customers. According to a representative, the sign had been put up due to concerns that Chinese people were fleeing to Vietnam in an attempt to escape the spread of COVID-19.
The representative said that the Vietnamese government is now controlling the situation. The Chaos Lounge is additionally checking customers’ temperatures, as well as asking them to wash their hands and wear masks, according to the representative.
Around the world, Asian people have reported incidents of racist harassment and assault as the COVID-19 outbreak has spread. As of Monday, there have been more than 79,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 16 in Vietnam.
Chaos Lounge is not the only business in Vietnam to ban Chinese customers. A nail bar in Phu Quoc and a hotel in Danang have also posted signs banning Chinese customers, The New York Post reports. Outside of Vietnam, restaurants in South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong have refused to allow Chinese customers to enter.
A representative for the press centre of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Business Insider that the country would never encourage private businesses to bar Chinese people.
“Vietnam’s government never supports or encourages any business in Vietnam to ban Chinese customers,” former Vietnamese government adviser Le Dang Doanh said in an email. “Vietnam’s government works consistently to treat all customers from all countries, including China, equally.”
Doanh, who served as a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy from 2016 to 2018, said that the Vietnam provincial authorities in Danang and elsewhere have intervened to lift these bans, which he said were sparked by coronavirus fears.
The Vietnamese government is attempting to contain the coronavirus without sacrificing international trade and tourism. Last week, Vietnam reopened one of its borders with China to allow for some trade between the two countries.
However, it seems inevitable that Vietnam will take an economic hit from COVID-19. Vietnam’s department of tourism is estimating the outbreak will cause $US3 billion to $US4 billion in direct damage to the country’s tourism industry.
“The government still keeps the growth target unchanged,” said Doanh. “But I think the GDP growth rate of Vietnam’s economy in 2020 should be reduced by ca. 1 [percentage point] from the 6.9% target, maybe to around 6.0-5.9%.”
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