Ho Chi Minh City Plans for the ‘New Normal’ after September 15, 2021

Up to October 9, 2021, Vietnam has approved the Hayat-Vax vaccine for emergency use, besides AstraZeneca, Sputnik V (Gam-Covid-Vac), Vero Cell (Sinopharm), Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax), and Janssen. At the moment, the Government is still facilitating the vaccination campaigns for people to get the first Covid-19 vaccine shot and continue the second shot in time.

With the severe impact of the fourth Covid-19 wave, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City applied the lockdown regulation under Directive 16/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister on the city till the end of September 15, 2021. Currently, the local authority is preparing to safely adapt to life amid the pandemic after September 15, 2021. In particular, on September 10, 2021, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City held a strategic meeting with the business community and relevant competent authorities to discuss the draft plan on Covid-19 prevention and control as well as economic recovery after September 15, 2021 (Draft).

Contents of the Draft, specifically the timeline to implement this plan, are subject to changes after this meeting. However, to keep our clients abreast of the Ho Chi Minh authority’s directions, we provide key implications under the Draft as follows.

COVID Green Card and COVID Yellow Card

Under the Draft, people in Ho Chi Minh City may engage in the ‘new normal’ daily activities based on their Covid-19 vaccination and recovery status. Specifically, the COVID Green Cards are issued to those who (i) are fully vaccinated for 14 days and, in some working environments, have periodic antigen testing, or (ii) are infected with Covid-19, complete the isolation period, and have recovered for 180 days, or (iii) are infected with Covid-19, carry out self-testing and self-isolation, then recover and have Covid-19 antibodies testing evidence. The COVID Yellow Cards are granted to those who (i) have the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine which requires two shots and (ii) have negative test results for every three days.

The COVID Green Card is valid for six months from the date of last vaccine inoculation and the holders may be able to carry out production and social activities subject to local regulations on epidemic control from time to time. The COVID Yellow Card holders are allowed to implement fewer activities than the COVID Green Card holders depending on the working environment, level of infection risk, and importance of such activities. Specific activities permitted for COVID Green Card and COVID Yellow Card holders are detailed into three phases as follows.

Three-phase Roadmap for Economic Recovery

In the Draft, Ho Chi Minh City will gradually resume economic activities based on the vaccination rate and health system safety in the following three phases.

Phase 1 (expectedly from September 16, 2021 to October 31, 2021) – pilot phase, to be implemented in safe areas, such as District 7, Cu Chi and Can Gio districts, Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, Hi-tech Parks

The COVID Green Card holders are allowed to participate in all activities, except for some activities having a high risk of infection, such as on-site catering services, sports, and cinemas, provided that they comply with safety regulations for epidemic prevention and control. Companies are allowed to deploy 100% of employees having COVID Green Cards in departments having direct interaction with outsiders, 100% of employees having COVID Yellow Cards and other employees holding COVID Green Card in the remaining departments to engage in, among others, production activities in industrial zones, export processing zones, and hi-tech parks, e-commerce activities, food production, logistics services.

In case the epidemic becomes worse than the epidemic control plan, only COVID Green Card holders are allowed to participate in economic activities and COVID Yellow Card holders are encouraged to switch to work online or ‘3 on-site’ or ‘1 route 2 destinations’ models.

Phase 2 (expectedly from October 31, 2021 to January 15, 2022)

If the epidemic situation is under control as planned, commercial centers, sports centers, outdoor activities, and small-scale dining will be additionally resumed, besides those already reopened in Phase 1, for COVID Green Card holders. Such activities must ensure the distancing regulations (fewer than 20 people).

Phase 3 (expectedly after January 15, 2022)

If the epidemic situation is under control as planned, the local authority will reopen all economic activities. However, only COVID Green Card holders are allowed to participate in karaoke, discotheque, bars, massage activities.

For phases 2 and 3, if the Covid-19 outbreak is out of control at that time, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City will adjust the plan accordingly.

The legal regulations applied during the Covid-19 epidemic are subjected to changes on a daily basis. If you have any questions or concerns and want us to keep you updated about such changes, our experienced lawyers are always available at info@corporate.letranlaw.com