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Bars, Cinemas, Ride-Hailing Return to Saigon in Low-Risk Districts

Many previously suspended activities are allowed again in Saigon depending on their district’s COVID-19 risk assessment.

Yesterday, November 16, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Văn Mãi issued an updated set of guidelines on pandemic restrictions, which stipulate which businesses can operate again in Saigon under which conditions, reports VnExpress.

Under the new guidelines, the last group of restricted enterprises can resume normal operations in green zones, though both staff members and guests must be fully vaccinated or able to provide proof of COVID-19 recovery. These include massage parlors, spas, beauty clinics, bars, discotheques and karaoke bars.

In yellow and orange zones, operation capacity is reduced to 50% and 25%, respectively. These activities will remain suspended in red zones.

Libraries, cinemas, cultural and art events, and arcades can reopen in accordance with the city’s pandemic regulations in green zones. In other zones, the operation capacity must also be reduced as mentioned above.

Street vendors and lottery sellers are allowed in green zones, while in yellow zones sellers must be fully vaccinated or have recovered from a recent infection. This is not allowed in orange and red zones.

According to the updated policy, whether motorbike ride-hailing services can restart depends on the city’s status: if Saigon as a whole becomes a green zone, rides can commence at 100% capacity. Only 50% of total bikes are allowed to operate at yellow zone status, and ride-hailing is halted at orange and red levels. Currently, Saigon is at yellow status.

Regarding indoor events like weddings, funerals, meetings, seminars, festivals, and other sports and cultural gatherings, the city doesn’t limit the number of participants in green zones, though they must keep one meter apart and practice 5K precautions. In yellow and orange zones, the capacity must be reduced to 50% and 25%, respectively.

The color designations are based on a set of criteria released by the HCMC Department of Health to assess COVID-19 risks of local districts and wards. Level 1 (green) has the lowest risk, while Level 4 (red) has the highest. According to HCDC, the district color statuses are updated every Monday based on data submitted by local health offices. See this map for the latest results.

[Photo: A bar in District 1 operating at near-full capacity before the pandemic.]

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