Revelers back at Hanoi beer hub as Covid restrictions lifted

 The Old Quarter, Hanoi's food and beer central and a symbol of its nightlife, is again buzzing as beer shops and restaurants are allowed to remain open until midnight.

At around 9 p.m. Sunday most restaurants and beer shops along the 200-meter-long Ta Hien in the old quarter were bursting at the seams.

Last week city authorities allowed food and beverage places to remain open until midnight. Since November there had been a 9 p.m. curfew as part of Covid-19 prevention measures.

Most beer and food shops were full.

Before November, the area was derelict for more than a year amid strict social distancing measures

Ngo Quoc Huy (2nd, R) celebrated his 18th birthday with a group of friends at a restaurant.

A bunch of revelers.

Some foreigners were hanging out with beer and popular foods like fermented pork roll, mozzarella sticks and chicken feet pickled with lemongrass and kumquat.

Before the pandemic too Ta Hien, which connects Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ma May and Hang Bac streets, used to attract thousands of people during weekends with its plethora of bars, street beer stalls and restaurants.

Vietnam fully reopened to visitors last Tuesday after nearly two years of closures and restrictions. It has resumed its visa waiver policy for citizens from 24 countries, including Japan, South Korea and several in Europe.

Thanh Son and his girlfriend hoped to find a place to drink some beer but most places were full.

Ta Hien 'beer street' has made it to CNN several times.

South Korean man Chae Mingi and his girlfriend Nguyen Ha Vy arrived at 9:30 p.m.

"Three months ago we visited Ta Hien but at that time the area looked forlorn with some shops closed and the atmosphere quiet," Vy said.

The scene at 10 p.m.

Hanoi has been topping the country's daily Covid infection tally for over three months now. In the fourth wave since April last year it has recorded over 1.1 million infections and 1,100 deaths.

While almost all Covid restrictions have been lifted, bars and massage and karaoke parlors remain shut.

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