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Asian Garden Mall (Phuoc Loc Tho) is a popular place to celebrate Tet among Vietnamese in Westminster, California. Photo by Shutterstock/Hung Tran.
In California, even though Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-home order in late January in response to an improving situation, a move hailed by some Vietnamese ahead of their traditional holiday, many people still have their guard up and are not gathering with relatives or going to public places.
“We will not go to Vietnamese malls or supermarkets since the places are always packed” Thao Nguyen, a banker in Orange County, California, said.
Nguyen’s family canceled a party with relatives on the last day of the lunar year, which “always used to be an indispensable part of our Tet.”
Instead, she had dinner and went to a nearby Buddhist temple without her parents, who are old and likely to be vulnerable to the coronavirus.
In December 2020, according to health officials in Santa Clara County, California, the Vietnamese and Philippine communities were more severely affected by the pandemic than other Asian-American groups in the San Francisco Bay region.
Many Tet activities and events have been canceled.
Little Saigon does not have music shows, traditional lion dancing and banh chung-making competitions like it usually does.
In San Diego, Tet Festival, presented by the Vietnamese American Youth Alliance (VAYA), is held virtually from February 12 to 14.
“We had hoped to have an in-person Tet Festival, as Tet is often the time when families gather to reconnect and usher in the new year,” Dennis Duong, president of VAYA, said in a statement.