Hanoi authorities have taken drastic measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and since noon on May 25, all restaurants, cafes, and hair salons have been closed, making life busy for delivery drivers.
Hanoi authorities have taken drastic measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and since noon on May 25, all restaurants, cafes, and hair salons have been closed.
Though restaurants and cafes can't offer dine-in services, they are open to take-out or online orders.
A Grab driver drinks water while taking a break in the shade.
This has dramatically increased the demand for delivery services. The streets in the city are largely empty but it is easy to spot shippers in uniforms like Grab or Baemin driving back and forth or queuing in front of cafés or restaurants that used to be filled with customers.
Shippers wait for orders under an overpass in Hà Nội.
Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, a Grab driver, said the fourth wave of the pandemic had broken out rapidly and the demand for transportation services had decreased significantly. But the demand for delivery, particularly food, had increased rapidly, especially around lunchtime.
In one afternoon, each shipper could serve seven to eight orders or more depending on the delivery distance, he added.
Hanoians have switched to buying food via applications like Grab or Now as they can't go to restaurants.
“With such an amount of orders, I could earn about VNĐ400,000 to 500,000 (US$17-22) after subtracting the cost of gas, food, and my phone. The weather is hot these days so many customers have given me additional money as tips so the income is pretty good.
“Many former taxi motorbike drivers have also switched to ship food," he added.
Though they are happy to be busy during the pandemic, most shippers are concerned about their safety.
The busiest time for a shipper is at noon.
“I wear two masks, wash my hands frequently with sanitiser and gargle with saltwater. After returning home, I immediately remove the masks, take a bath and change clothes," Tuấn said.
“I know that working during the pandemic is dangerous but I still have to work to earn money to support my family. I hope that the pandemic will be over soon so we shippers can feel secure at work."
Working in such hot weather these days, food shippers could receive extra tips from customers.
To maintain business while ensuring pandemic prevention, most restaurants have prepared hand sanitiser, requested compulsory mask-wearing and distancing among shippers. The owners have also equipped the shops with temporary protective sheets to prevent the spread of the virus.
Delivery services are becoming popular again in Hanoi following the latest Covid-19 outbreak.