Asia-Pacific Nation’s Policy Updates Affecting Returning to Work

Asia-Pacific Countries Take the Lead in Re-Opening

Positivity has been ringing out of many Asia-Pacific countries. Vietnam, New Zealand, China and Hong Kong have lifted many social distancing measures, as cases of Covid-19 continue to be low. As the control of the Virus has been steadily improving in Asia, many businesses are beginning to reinstate their standard working arrangements.

After Asia returns to work, Europe, the US and the rest of the world will be monitoring closely how companies have ushered employees back in the office. Each nation and company have implemented their own specific policies for returning. Easing restrictions and policy updates may impact your business. We look through some of the newest updates in different Asia-Pacific countries that may affect your business.


Hong Kong Updates & Return to Work Criteria

Hong Kong civil servants returned to their usual working arrangements on May 4th. Private businesses are expected to follow suit, meaning a gradual return to normality for the city. Although not mandatory, people are strongly recommended to wear face masks in public, with the vast majority of Hong Konger’s obliging.

Office buildings are recording body temperatures of anyone entering the premises, with alcohol sanitizer readily available. The promising signs of no local Covid-19 cases have led to the government to ease various measures.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Re-opening of various businesses and public areas, including fitness centres, beauty parlours, mahjong parlours, etc.
  • Maximum number of people in groups updated from 4 to 8.
  • Bars can operate again at half capacity
  • Listed companies can hold shareholder meetings in public premises
  • 1.5 Metre distancing are required for restaurants, bars and other entertainment businesses
  • All updates are effective from May 8th 2020

Macau Updates & Return to Work Criteria

Since the 1999 handover, Macau will see its first fiscal deficit as Covid-19 hammers its entertainment-based economy. Despite its close proximity to the outbreak epicentre, Macau SAR has seen less than 50 cases and no deaths. Since Macau and its neighbour Hong Kong have not experienced any local transmissions, both are considering easing border controls.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Smartcard e-Voucher of 8000 Pataca will be given to residents for local spending
  • Small to Medium Enterprises are eligible to apply for wage subsidies ranging from 15,000 to 200,000 Pataca
  • Discussion of reopening of borders with Hong Kong and Mainland China (Exploration Stage)

China Updates & Return to Work Criteria

After reporting its first case of coronavirus in December and exploding in the following months, whole city lockdowns have slowed the spread considerably. The controlling of the virus has allowed China to restart its economy, as the business environment returns to normality.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Travel and work restrictions have been eased
  • State Council guidelines for the resumption of work
  • Sneezing and coughing without covering your mouth in public will be fined
  • Tourist attractions to reopen
People aslo ask
When will employers receive subsidies in HK’s Employment Support Scheme?
What legislation updates have there been in the Asia-Pacific region?
How does Singapore’s Job Support Scheme assist employers?
How would outsourcing my payroll help my business?
Why do I need to protect my employer branding?

New Zealand Updates & Return to Work Criteria

New Zealand had been seen as one of the most successful countries in controlling Covid-19 in the western world. The nation’s aggressive policies have resulted in its first day of no new cases in recent weeks. With fewer than 1500 cases and little over 20 deaths, various nonessential businesses and recreational activities are being reinstated.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Level 4 measures moved down to level 3
  • Most businesses can reopen, but working from home is still recommended
  • Nonessential businesses that include face-to-face contact like gyms, hairdressers and salespeople must remain closed
  • Food business with contactless pickup or home delivery can operate
  • Employees who might be sick or have had close contact should not be asked to return to work on any alert level

Australia Updates & Return to Work Criteria

In Australia, the death rate has stayed in double figures at the time writing. With the virus seemingly under control, Australia has planned a road to recovery.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • South Australia (SA) will permit regional state travel from 11th May
  • Gatherings of 10 people will be permitted (SA)
  • Restaurants will be able to offer outdoor dining for up to 10 patrons (SA)
  • New South Wales plans to follow in easing restrictions 15th May
  • Victoria is the only state not to announce easing measures

Singapore Updates & Return to Work Criteria

Singapore was once the poster child for controlling the pandemic. However, a string of cases has caused the city-state to return to a strict lockdown in early April.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Restrictions have been extended to early June
  • All nonessential businesses will remain closed
  • Number of services categorized as essential reduced (April 22nd)
  • Home-based businesses can begin operation on May 12th  

Thailand Updates & Return to Work Criteria

Thailand has kept cases relatively low compared to the rest of the world. As the number of deaths has remained in the double digits, Siam has relaxed measures.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Public facilities like parks and open-air sports venues are open
  • Alcohol ban has been lifted on May 3rd 2020
  • Businesses including restaurants, markets and hair salons can operate with safety measures

Vietnam Updates & Return to Work Criteria

A strong resilience in the Vietnamese economy despite the pandemic shows that the South-East Asian country is experiencing an economic boom. Its fast and firm response to tackling the spread of the virus has won international acclamation. As such, the low infection and death rate has allowed the country to relax some of its measures.

New Updates to Policies Include:

  • Nonessential services will be allowed to resume business
  • Relaxed social distancing guidelines on public transport including, Ho Chi Minh City public buses resuming operations with no more than 20 passengers
  • Re-opening of public beaches but with restrictions
  • Customs clearance resumes in the northern border with China from 1st May 2020
  • Prime Minister issued Directive No.19 on control measures to deal with Covid-19. Includes: wearing face mask when outside, regular washing of hands suspension of religious ceremonies and large gatherings. (April 24th 2020)

Focus on Business Resumption & Growth

With many nations relaxing their tough restrictions, businesses are able to return to some level of production. As employees return to the office, leaders should focus on rebooting productivity and growing the business.

Staff will need to feel that their wellness is being looked after before and during resumption. If smart measures are not implemented to protect employee health, corporations could potentially see a disastrous impact on their employer branding. Decision-makers should also consider outsourcing their HR functions and payroll to professionals, so their time is less consumed by these lengthy tasks.

Expanding your footprint overseas can be a challenging task if you’re not aware of local regulations. Links International’s multi-location presence and local expertise can help you gain crucial insights on operating a business in your chosen location. Learn more about how Links can streamline your functions and help advance your business.

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