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April 7, 2020

Enforcement of Social Distancing Measures at Manufacturing Facilities in Vietnam

Last week, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued Directive No. 16 providing regulations on a social distancing campaign during the COVID-19 global outbreak. Later, the Prime Minister issued guidelines on issues such as which businesses may continue to operate during the campaign. Additionally, many localities, such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong Province, have issued their own local guidelines.

Under Directive No. 16 and these guidelines, all manufacturing facilities may continue to operate, but are required to strictly implement measures to protect against and combat COVID-19. In recent days, the local health authorities in Vietnam have begun inspecting enterprises, including foreign-invested enterprises, to check for conformance with the new directive.

Following a few examples of inspection results, some points have emerged that warrant attention. For good compliance, the government inspection teams expected enterprises to do the following at their facilities, including dormitories for workers:

  1. Check the temperature of all employees in all areas, not just a select group, and have a plan for doing so.
  2. Have employees make a self-declaration on health, especially when requesting sick leave.
  3. Have a separate on-site pre-screening health check area, before sending employees to a primary on-site health check area (to avoid mixing any COVID-19 infected persons with other sick or injured workers, if any).
  4. Organize lunch in different shifts to avoid people congregating in large numbers.
  5. Maintain a two-meter distance between staff; maintain social distance of two meters during lunch periods and breaks.
  6. Prepare basins for workers to wash hands with soap/sanitary gel, provide soap/sanitary gel in restrooms and meal areas, and ensure that the workers are indeed washing their hands.
  7. Wipe down surfaces to sanitize regularly.
  8. Provide face masks for all workers.
  9. Hang banners and posters at the workplace displaying COVID-19 prevention tips, and provide flyers on COVID-19 prevention at company dormitories.
  10. Make plans for sanitizing vehicles to transport workers, including keeping social distance when boarding the bus, and wiping down door handles and areas in front of seats on the bus.

Some enterprises that did not comply well with Directive No. 16 were required to reduce the scale of their operations, or else be forced to suspend operations. It seems there were some companies that, due to the sheer volume of employees, could not comply well with the directive—thus, by reducing their scale of operations, they could operate with smaller teams of workers to ensure proper social distancing protocols.

It should be noted that enforcement and compliance criteria may differ among localities. However, based on the results of some of the first inspections, in order to protect employees and to avoid business disruption due to non-compliance, following the above protocols can be helpful to businesses.

For more details on the implementation of social distancing measures at the workplace, please contact us at [email protected].

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