Vientiane Orders Supermarkets, Retailers Shut During Lockdown

Laos to Punish Opportunists who Stockpile Goods under New Covid-19 Measures (Photo: Nora Chanthalanouvat)
Empty shelves at a local supermarket (Photo: Nora Chanthalanouvat)

The Vientiane Capital Department of Industry and Commerce has issued a notice ordering the closure of a number of retail businesses including supermarkets and minimarts.

According to the notice, shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets and minimarts, night markets, clothing stores, hardware stores, hair and beauty stores, kitchenware shops, shops selling electrical items and appliances, mobile phone shops, and small retailers must temporarily close from 20 – 30 September.

Meanwhile, fresh markets may open from 6 am to 6 pm for the sale of agricultural and industrial goods, fresh food, dried food, condiments, and takeaway meals. Social distancing and Covid-19 prevention measures must be strictly followed.

Petrol stations may operate as normal from 6am to 6pm.

The sale of alcohol at any location is strictly prohibited during this time.

Vientiane police out in force

The notice states that businesses who fail to comply with Covid-19 prevention measures and lockdown regulations will be fined up to LAK 10,000,000 and face permanent closure.

The closures come as traffic police report a high number of vehicles on the roads, with authorities rushing to place extra roadblocks around the city, turning back those who travel without authorization or are not undertaking essential tasks.

Retailers have reported crowded shops and widespread panic buying as residents stockpile food and household goods before the new regulations take effect.