Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) restarted opening the city’s economy on 16 September 2021. Therefore, the COVID-19 Prevention Steering Committee of the People’s Committee of HCMC has issued a set of criteria to support safe operations while preventing COVID-19 at production and business facilities in HCMC (Evaluation Criteria). These Evaluation Criteria are based on Decision No. 3328/QD-BCD dated 15 September 2021. They form the basis for businesses in HCMC to start operations while HCMC is gradually opening its economy to adapt to the new status quo.
The Evaluation Criteria apply to the following businesses and production entities in HCMC (Covered Entities):
Business facilities engaging in commercial activities and commodities supply: supermarkets, commercial centres, mini supermarkets, convenient stores, food retail stores, conventional markets, and wholesale markets;
Enterprises and production facilities; and
Working offices of the entities specified in groups 1. and 2.
Furthermore, all employees of the Covered Entities must be Green Card Holders, which is the main criteria to satisfy the Evaluation Criteria.
Covered Entities can only operate if they satisfy all the applicable criteria as specified in the Annexes of the Evaluation Criteria. The next section will set out the relevant criteria applicable to Covered Entities listed under 3., as specified in Annex 5 of the Evaluation Criteria. However, note that these criteria may also apply to Covered Entities that fall under 1. and 2., but there might be certain variations. We refer to the relevant annexes of the Evaluation Criteria applicable to Covered Entities.
According to the Evaluation Criteria, Green Card Holders are classified into Basic Green Card Holders and Restricted Green Card Holders.
A Basic Green Card Holder is an individual who has:
Obtained negative results for SARS-CoV-2 tests (either rapid or RT-PCR test) for any business line requiring testing according to applicable regulations;
Been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 according to applicable regulations; and
Had no close contact with an F0 case for at least 14 days.
A Restricted Green Card Holder is an individual who has fulfilled the criteria set out under a. and c. but has only received the first shot of a two-dose vaccine.
Restricted Green Card Holders can perform a limited scope of activities compared to what a Basic Green Card Holder can do.
The Covered Entities set out in Section 1 have specific responsibilities. These entities need to perform evaluations according to the Evaluation Criteria; and are solely responsible for the accuracy and truthfulness of the evaluation results.
They need to notify the competent authorities, such as – depending on the address of the entity - the district-level People’s Committee of HCMC, the People’s Committee of Thu Duc City, and the Management Authority of Industrial Zones and High-tech Zones, for post-evaluation inspections.
If Covered Entities use shipping services during their operations, they must ensure that the shippers will apply non-contact delivery methods. The same applies to any commodity stocking activity, and if cash payment is applicable, Covered Entities need to arrange separate cash delivery trays to avoid hand-to-hand delivery.
Covered Entities that pass the evaluation can operate. In case of failure, they need to address the underlying issues and redo it. The evaluation needs to be conducted for each facility, area of the Covered Entities (such as separate factories, production chains, office clusters) to ensure the effectiveness in dealing with any COVID-19 cases and avoid jeopardising other facilities or areas of the Covered Entities. This zoning principle also applies in case an area of the Covered Entities must cease operation due to evaluation failure or following a request to re-conduct the evaluation.
All employees must be at least a Restricted Green Card Holder and have obtained valid negative results for SARS-CoV-2 tests (either rapid or RT-PCR test). However, only Basic Green Card Holders can work in a department that routinely has direct contact with outsiders
The minimum distance between working seats must be 2 meters, or there must be partitions among them, and the room temperature cannot be below 25 degrees Celsius.
The Covered Entities need to arrange a team to monitor the other employees’ body temperature and compliance with pandemic prevention obligations, such as wearing face masks, routinely washing hands, doing digital medical declaration, maintaining a safe distance. There needs to be a plan for internal supervision and inspection of on-site compliance with pandemic prevention. The results of the implementation of this plan needs to be recorded.
Covered Entities with more than 100 employees need to have a medical treatment room and medicine cabinets to temporarily isolate any employee who has COVID-19 symptoms. There must be sufficient medical equipment and supplies on-site, including but not limited to scanning devices for identifying Green Card Holders, and hand sanitisers, disinfection equipment.
There must be at least one restroom per 10 female or 15 male employees; and at least one sink per 10 employees with sufficient clean water and hand sanitisers.
Covered Entities need to conduct periodical disinfection of working conference rooms and “communal areas” at least once a week. Restrooms and medical rooms need to be disinfected at least once a day. For other areas, the disinfection shall be conducted according to the guidance of health authorities. Finally, there must be sufficient garbage bins with lids for regular and medical waste placed on the premises.
Covered Entities shall actively remind employees to comply with pandemic prevention measures. Information on officials in charge of pandemic prevention in the locality, and local health authorities need to be made available to all persons at the premises.
There shall be a plan for organising SARS-CoV-2 testing (either rapid test or RT-PCR test) and screening for employees following the guidance of the health authorities. This plan must be assessed and adjusted (if necessary) based on the implementation results and subsequently notify to local authorities for post-evaluation inspection.
For more information, please contact:
An Tran / Senior Associate
Thien Pham / Junior Associate
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This legal update is not an advice and should not be treated as such.
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