A bar in Ho Chi Minh City bans Chinese customers, as coronavirus concerns spark anti-Chinese racism
- A bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam banned Chinese customers, saying the ban was to “protect the health of our guests.”
- 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 $3 billion to $4 billion in direct damage.
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!”
Business Insider reached out to Chaos Lounge to see if it is still banning Chinese customers. The bar did not respond to a request for comment.
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 center 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 $3 billion to $4 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%.”