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Nov 17, 2021 / 17:42

HCMC reopens bars, cinemas and non-essential services in low-risk districts

The non-essential businesses in HCMC are allowed to reopen under various conditions depending on the coronavirus risk level of the area.

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) have allowed businesses like bars, cinemas, karaoke parlors, and some other non-essential services to resume operations from November 19 in certain areas where the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control.

The move came into effect following a decision signed by the municipal People's Committee Phan Van Mai yesterday.

The infection risk level is determined based on the local vaccination rate and the number of infections per population.

In areas with medium risk, businesses can operate at half of their capacity, and in high-risk areas, the operation scale would be further limited at 25% of their capacity. In addition, all staff are required to be either fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 six months prior.

Customers failing to meet these conditions must provide a negative test result with validity within 72 hours.

 The non-essential businesses in HCMC are allowed to reopen under various conditions depending on the coronavirus risk level of the area. Photo: Nguyet Nhi

Areas with low risk are districts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Phu Nhuan, Tan Phu, Tan Binh, and Binh Chanh districts. Those designated as medium risk are districts 3, 10, 11, 12, Binh Tan, Binh Thanh, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Go Vap, Nha Be, and Thu Duc City. Can Gio is the only district with high risk. No area in HCMC is considered to be very high risk by now.

Residents can check the corresponding risk level of each ward and district using the interactive map operated by the municipal Department of Information and Communications via https://bando.tphcm.gov.vn/ogis/thongke?Province=79.

Karaoke and massage parlors, bars, and nightclubs in HCMC have been closed for around half a year. HCMC has been the hardest-hit locality in Vietnam since the fourth virus wave began on April 27, with nearly 450,000 infections.

As of November 17, HCMC’s health authorities have administered more than 13.8 million vaccine doses, with nearly six million out of a population of nine million people in the city fully inoculated.

Schools to reopen in outlying districts

HCMC Chairman Phan Van Mai has proposed the reopening of schools in safer outskirt districts of Hoc Mon and Cu Chi.

Several schools in Can Gio District have already opened for 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 9th graders on a trial basis, Mai noted, asking that Hoc Mon and Cu Chi Districts should consider plans to let students return to school in communes with low and medium coronavirus risks.

"Outskirts communes would find it easier to do so than downtown wards, as teachers and students mostly live within the same areas, and there would not be much mobility involved," the mayor said.

He added that the city has already asked its health and education departments to prepare for the reopening of schools and the plan is expected to be completed this week.

Mai also acknowledged that reopening schools could be difficult, especially for a city like HCMC with around 1.7 million students.

However, online studying is likely to imply long-term problems, with many students lacking the necessary equipment to study effectively, or suffering health impacts due to long time periods spent staring at screens, he noted, adding that students cannot fully develop skills in online classes.

Previously, HCMC had planned to resume on-site classes in areas with low or medium coronavirus risks starting December 10. Implementing the plan would depend on the novel coronavirus situation in each area.

Reopening schools is a significant issue for a city of 1.7 million students like HCMC as the pandemic situation has improved, with many locales becoming safe zones, or areas with low risk of Covid-19 transmission, according to the mayor.

The HCMC People’s Committee will work with local educational and health authorities this week to finalize the plan for reopening all schools, Mai said.