The spread of COVID-19 in Binh Duong Province, bordering Ho Chi Minh City to the North, is currently developing with unpredictable momentum.
As of 16 September 2021, the province records 160,000 positive cases. Of these cases, 4,200 have been detected in industrial zones (IZ) across various enterprises and industries, disrupting the operations of an aggregate of 36% of enterprises. Prevention measures like the “3-On-site” scheme have, and strict quarantine and social distancing mandates have further complicated the situation, draining essential resources and funds from the management of production facilities. Accordingly, the Binh Duong Industrial Zones Authority (BDIZA) estimates the output of production of operative IZ companies to have plunged to 50% of its former capacity.
In light of these troubling events, the BDIZA issued Plan No. 27/KH-BQL on COVID-19 Pandemic Prevention and Recovery of Enterprises’ Operation in IZs (Recovery Plan) on 14 September 2021. This update reviews the Recovery Plan and distils its most relevant rules for affected companies.
The BDIZA has the authority to implement Plan No. 4370/KH-UBND dated 1 September 2021 issued by the People’s Committee of Binh Duong Province to aid companies in the IZs to maintain operations amidst the pandemic while safekeeping employees and others. Enterprises in IZs that are permitted to operate under Recovery Plan shall strictly and fully comply with regulations on pandemic prevention administered by the health authorities.
The Recovery Plan splits its goals twofold into two phases. It distinguishes between operative enterprises and those which had to suspend their operations due to COVID-19:
Operative Enterprises: Reach performance rate of at least 60% pre-COVID
Disrupted Enterprises: Reset operation of 90% of suspended enterprises
Period 1/11 to 31/12/2021
Operative Enterprises: Reach performance rate of at least 80% pre-COVID
Disrupted Enterprises: Reset operation of 100% of suspended enterprises
Companies may operate under two core models, depending on their location inside or outside of defined Covid Green Zones (GZ):
In areas classified as GZ: The “3-Greens-Model” can be applied. This means that enterprises are permitted to operate in compliance with pandemic prevention and control measures regarding staff and visitors.
In areas not classified as GZ: The “3-On-Site-Model” can be applied. This means that enterprises are only permitted to operate if their staff eat, sleep and work on site and visitors are not allowed.
All operative enterprises, regardless of their classification, must comply with the following COVID-19 prevention measures.
All employees participating in production activities on site must satisfy one of the following conditions:
Be fully vaccinated;
Be a former COVID-19 patient who has been treated and released from the hospital and completed a successive 14-day self-quarantine period at home; or
Have received the first shot of the vaccination at least 14 days before the effective date of the Recovery Plan.
Enterprises have to strictly follow Plan No. 162/PA-SYT dated 10 September 2021, issued by the Department of Health of Binh Duong. They also need to establish a company internal COVID-19 Prevention Steering Committee to build up, manage, and adjust plans to prevent, supervise, evaluate risks periodically. The enterprises also need to agree with employees and local authorities on the operation model and employees’ rights and benefits after the operation reset.
Further to this, enterprises need to meet the following requirements:
Prepare and implement a plan to supervise the continuous compliance with pandemic prevention duties, and disclose the results thereof to the employees;
Perform the five-step self-assessment of risks according to the guidance of the International Labour Organisation periodically;
Conduct COVID-19 testing for all employees before the operation date, and only employees with negative test results are permitted to work;
Keep records of individuals entering and leaving the premises to decrease the density of the employees, and all employees must have their temperature checked and hands sanitised upon entering the premises;
Hand sanitisers must be available in any area with employee access;
Accelerate the use of contact-free devices and equipment to avoid infection;
Ensure that there is no contact between employees from different departments or production chains;
Prepare temporary quarantine areas for F0, F1 cases in liaison with medical and safe-production specialists, and in the absence of such isolation areas, no F0 case may remain on the premises for more than 24 hours;
Arrange for safety areas between adjacent departments, and these areas are empty spaces or rooms and will act as delivery points between departments to avoid close or direct contacts;
Comply with regulations of the Ministry of Health (MoH) on safe production;
Rapid test by pooled samples shall be conducted on all employees every three days;
Cooperate with the Centre for Disease Control or local health authorities to train enterprises’ medical team working on the premises to discover and isolate any F0, F1 cases temporarily on-site according to Decision No. 3638/QD-BYT dated 30 July 2021 issued by MoH;
Enterprises shall ensure that any outsiders are fully vaccinated before allowing direct contact with their employees;
Place surveillance camera systems in operation at high-risk areas;
Channel streams of staff and goods to ensure maximum segregation of areas and individuals; and
Educate employees daily about their duties to protect health and ensure safety to prevent infection.
Enterprises in IZs should be aware that the BIDIZA and local authorities will closely supervise their compliance with the obligations outlined in the Recovery Plan. This includes screening test reports submitted by enterprises periodically, accessing archived files of the surveillance camera systems and on-site inspection without prior notice.
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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