On March 31, 2020, Vietnam issued Directive No. 16/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister of Vietnam, setting out a wide range of social distancing measures, which we covered in an earlier client alert (click here for details). Following this nationwide announcement, local authorities in various provinces and cities have released their own guidance on implementation of measures for preventing and controlling the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Chairperson of the People’s Committee of Hanoi (“Hanoi PC”) issued Directive No. 05/CT-UBND, under which, in addition to the application of measures as required by the Prime Minster, the Chairperson of the Hanoi PC also further detailed which businesses are considered “essential" and therefore not subject to suspension. For those operating within the jurisdiction of the Hanoi PC, the following businesses are considered “essential”:
- General supermarkets (except for entertainment and on-site dining services); shopping malls (including general supermarkets and hospitals operating in such shopping malls); street markets (including stalls for food, fruit, vegetables, and dried food); convenience stores and mini supermarkets (except for on-site dining services); grocery stores selling fruit; tourist accommodation premises; chain stores selling agricultural products or medicines; health care services; postal services; banking and electronic payment services; television and telecommunications services; security services; petrol, gas, and oil sellers; funeral services, cemeteries, cremation services, detoxification facilities, and social protection facilities.
- Production and trading of essential goods including production, preliminary processing, and processing of food, fruit, pharmaceuticals, medicines, medical equipment and supplies for epidemic prevention and control and national security purposes; services of electricity and water supply and environmental sanitation, livestock and poultry farms, aquaculture, clean water supply plants, factories for manufacturing medical masks, factories producing bottled water and juice, and factories and enterprises that are producing under contracts under which products must be delivered before April 15, 2020. Other than these permissible establishments, other factories, production units and construction sites are required to be closed and the employees must be off work.
Notably, neither the directive of the Prime Minister nor the directive from Hanoi specifically mention other service providers such as tax, auditing, notarial offices, etc. It appears that those service providers are allowed to continue operating based on public statements made in interviews by Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office. However, the operation of those entities may be changed following a shift in circumstances.
Guidance for Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong Province and other localities has also been issued and the guidelines may differ from locality to locality.