Directive 18 provides information on which businesses can open and which not yet and under which conditions. It also prescribes the obligation to use QR codes for movement and proof of vaccination. Step-by-step more businesses can open again which will help to recover HCMC's economy.

13 Oct 2021



After lifting the iron-clad “shelter-in-place” order that Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) had imposed on the southern metropolitan area, HCMC’s plans for the “new normal” are now gaining sophistication.

Amidst a dynamic pandemic situation, the opening of HCMC will be gradual and depends on local events and an increasing rate of fully vaccinated citizens. To support the incremental economic recovery of HCMC, the Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC recently ratified Directive No. 18 that regulates the continued control and adjustment of COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures and proposes a scenario for gradual re-opening of the metropolitan area (Directive 18). It took effect on 1 October 2021.

Under Directive 18, HCMC needs to stabilise its control over local and regional pandemic developments and adjust its prevention measures to the “three-phase plan” that heralds its socio-economy recovery.

This update sets out the essential items under Directive 18 and highlights relevant points for private enterprises in HCMC.


1. Key Take-aways of Directive 18

Thirteen groups of businesses are permitted to operate, while three groups cannot yet.

The operation of permitted businesses must satisfy corresponding safe operation and production criteria outlined in Decision No. 3328/QD-BCD of 15 September 2021 issued by the COVID-19 Prevention Steering Committee. State agencies are re-opening, and the administrative procedures of HCMC should function normally. The socio-economic recovery of HCMC will be monitored by technological means.


2. Requirements for Application of Technology
2.1 Business Entities

All HCMC agencies, production facilities, businesses, and service providers that are permitted to operate must register individual QR Codes at the following web address:

As of 08 October 2021, these entities are obliged to scan QR codes (either on a smartphone or paper) of all individuals entering their premises. This includes any interactive activities, such as business meetings, in-person transactions, or co-working on the premises. Enterprises must utilise PC-COVID or an equivalent software licensed by HCMC authorities for management and control.

 2.2 Citizens of HCMC

All citizens must use the smartphone application VNEID or PC-COVID and have their respective QR Codes available at all times when travelling within HCMC. The only exception is when you do not have a phone that can show QR codes or any other accepted exception. Citizens need to prove that they have recovered from COVID-19 issued in the last six months or that they have been fully vaccinated.

Foreigners must perform a medical declaration at the airport terminal and use a personal QR Code issued to them (or any substitute documents) upon entering HCMC from abroad.


3. Permitted Businesses under Directive 18

The following businesses can operate:

  1. Private medical, healthcare facilities, including hospitals, general and specialised clinics such as family medical clinics and maternity hospitals;

  2. Medical service facilities;

  3. Pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and biological product, and medical equipment businesses;

  4. Enterprises and production facilities located in industrial clusters, industrial zones, export processing zones, high-tech zones, Quang Trung Software Park, and all districts of HCMC and Thu Duc City.

  5. All business entities engaging in production of and trading in agriculture, forestry, fishery and salt products, or supporting services for agricultural production, veterinary establishments, and veterinary practitioners.

  6. Enterprises and services providers that provide the following services:

    • Supply of groceries and foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, gasoline, oil, electricity, water, fuel, repair services, waste collection, transportation and treatment, post and telecommunication, services of buying, selling, repairing and maintaining vehicles, machinery, civil and industrial equipment, activities of investment, real estate business, services of management, operation, maintenance, repair and rescue for infrastructure systems and equipment of agencies, buildings and apartments;

    • Public services, security services, toll stations for road use, construction consulting services, environmental sanitation services, environmental monitoring and treatment services, job placement services, vehicle wash services, utility services (water supply and drainage), parks, trees, technical infrastructure, and transportation;

    • Warehouses, gathering points, transhipment of goods, supporting services for transporting, exporting and importing goods; and

    • Trade centres, supermarkets, mini-supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores, wholesale markets, traditional markets;

    • Post and telecommunication; press, publishing, printing, calendar; e-commerce business activities, using online delivery services; bookstore, office equipment store; book street; libraries, galleries, art exhibitions, photography; school supplies and tools; information technology; informatics equipment; electronics shop; eyewear store; fashion and apparel stores; gold, silver, gems and jewellery stores;

    • Warehouses, gathering points, transhipment of goods, supporting services for transporting, exporting and importing goods; and

    • Trade centres, supermarkets, mini-supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores, wholesale markets, traditional markets;

  7. Food and beverage establishments can only provide takeaways services;

  8. Restaurants inside residential buildings, resorts and tourist attraction sites may only serve on-site to registered and visiting guests, while buffet hosting is prohibited;

  9. Barbershops, fitness clubs (gym and yoga centres) may operate at a maximum of 50% capacity and are limited to ten customers at a time;

  10. Operations of representative offices and branches of foreign enterprises in HCMC;

  11. Credit institutions, foreign bank branches, treasury, service business establishments directly related to credit activities, foreign bank branches, and logistics;

  12. Business supporting and professional services (such as legal, auditing, and financial services); and

  13. Securities and pawn services.

4. Suspended Businesses

The following business activities and other services remain suspended:

  1. Bars, beer clubs, pubs, spas, massage salons, beauty services, on-site food services, cinemas, circuses, discotheques, cyber cafe services, karaoke and video games bars;

  2. Spontaneous market activities, street vending (including lottery tickets), and

  3. All businesses not explicitly permitted under Section 3 remain prohibited.


For more information, please contact:

 An Tran / Senior Associate  


Thien Pham / Junior Associate

© 2021 ACS Legal Vietnam Company Limited – All rights reserved

This legal update is not an advice and should not be treated as such.

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