HCMC to ease Covid-19 restrictions starting from 1st October
When Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam’s largest city, battled with its first Covid-19 waves with just a few community cases, only sites exposed to the virus were barricaded for safety reasons. After the fourth wave struck in late April this year, community cases have ballooned rapidly and so have the number of street barricades.
Not only do barricades help us identify Covid-19 zones, but they are also being used to safeguard Covid-19-free zones from strangers who might carry the virus in. However, there’s no denying that these barricades have made citywide movements more inconvenient and deliveries difficult, even for essential business staffers.
With this in mind, authorities have decided to remove all Covid-19 barricades by 1st October, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MTT). This decision is seen as city leaders’ attempt to help the city transition into living with the pandemic.
HCMC sets goal of removing 900 barricades by 1st October
Image credit: Tuổi Trẻ
In a 24th September meeting with local business representatives, HCMC leaders Nguyễn Văn Nên and Phan Văn Mãi said that they’d consider removing all barricades in the inner city by the end of September. Since late April, the number of barricades in the city has grown to 900, the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported.
However, barricades and safety booths at city gate borders will remain in place to ensure long-term security for the whole city.
This decision is good news for local businesses and ride-hailing service providers, now that the city has announced its plans for reopening in specific phases.
Removing barricades will help sustain logistical activities and make it easier for delivery staff to ship goods to customers.
Image credit: Tuổi Trẻ
Three days after the timely announcement, many parts of Saigon have seen their safety barriers partially removed. Movement restrictions inside residential neighborhoods have also been eased accordingly.
Needless to say, delivery staff and residents are ecstatic. For those delivering goods, no barriers means less waiting time at entrances, and faster delivery. For residents, it means much-needed walks out and about after many days of being cooped up at home.
“I’m extremely happy. For the past 100 days, all of my activities have been wrapped up in this tiny lane. I had to give and receive deliveries over barricades,” Ms Ái Ly, a Thủ Đức resident, told Tuổi Trẻ. “The removal of barricades also helps us feel more relieved as it shows that we’re all making progress in our battle against the pandemic.”
HCMC authorities will issue a new Covid-19 decree from 1st October
Image credit: Di_An_h
At a Covid-19 briefing on 26th September, HCMC authorities announced that they would release a new decree specifying the relaxations of movement curbs on 1st October.
Even though nothing is set in stone yet and we all have to wait until 1st October to find out, here are a few things mentioned by Tuổi Trẻ in the draft bill that are worth a read.
Clinics, hair salons, financial institutions, convenience stores, and markets will be allowed to reopen. However, the maximum group size allowed to be inside public venues at any time will be reduced to only 50% of their capacity.
The maximum number of people allowed to attend a wedding is 50, and for funerals 20 persons at maximum. These events must be monitored by a medical witness.
Group sizes for indoor and outdoor manufacturing activities will be reduced to no more than 10 persons. In case 100% of the staff members are fully vaccinated, the cap can go up to 50 persons at the maximum.
Religious activities and non-essential businesses such as entertainment hubs and massage parlours will continue to be suspended.
Image credit: Thanh Niên
All residents must maintain social distancing in public and use scannable QR codes to make health reports when entering public venues. Those who hit the streets must prove that they are qualified to go out, such as being fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.
As great as they sound, remember that these are just clauses in a draft bill for now, and we need to wait until 1st October for updates.
HCMC is gradually loosening restrictions
The fourth Covid-19 wave has taken a toll on all of us. Over 10,000 people have died, over 1,000 children have become orphans, and too many people have lost their jobs. Within less than five months, we have witnessed and experienced many catastrophes that we never thought were possible.
As we’re fast approaching the final months of 2021, we are also reaching a new chapter in our lives, a monumental landmark in the city’s history – a long-term life with Covid-19. It may not be a smooth transition as we get used to the new requirements for leaving our homes, but at least we’re making progress.
The Covid-19 situation in HCMC has required prompt and unprecedented responses by the government and local authorities. Therefore, we invite you to stay tuned for future updates on the latest developments in the city’s Covid-19 strategies and regulations.
Also check out:
- ‘No water & toilet breaks’: Saigon doctor describes life inside Covid-19 ward
- Covid-19 doctor begged for a last look at husband who died of Covid-19
- Choosing to stay: confessions of a Saigon real estate agent amid Covid-19
- Vietnam’s road to normalcy starts with vaccine passports
- Covid-19 commentary: a gradual transition is the way out for Vietnam
- Housing in Vietnam: comprehensive guide to renting in Saigon, Hanoi, Danang
Cover image adapted from: Thanh Niên