On June 2nd, 2020, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance published the Ministerial Agreement 144-2020 which contains the national strategy for controlling the epidemic COVID-19 and the conditions of confinement to complement the presidential provisions dated May 31st, 2020 that were published on June 1, 2020 and which ratified the validity of the provisions of May 14th, 2020 with some adjustments to them: curfew from 18:00 to 5:00 hours, change of schedules for supermarkets, banks, markets, authorization of commercial activities and services in individual places that are not in shopping centers, among others.
The strategy implies the progressive reopening of productive and commercial sectors, as well as the eventual return to normality. This will be done in 4 phases projected to run every 14 days provided that the numbers related to positive cases do not show an increasing trend and the national hospitals are not overcrowded with patients. The phases are as follows:
Phase 0: provides a decrease of the confinement measures that allow relief to citizens and work centers, allowing mobility outside the home and measures with a very low risk of contagion.
Phase I: Allows, in geographical territories (departments), the partial opening of economic activities and work centers such as commerce or counter services, restaurants and cafeterias, professional sports activities and tourist accommodation without the use of common and restricted areas.
Phase II: Allows, in the geographical territories (departments) that exceed phase I, the partial opening of economic activities and work centers that were restricted in phase I (not essential).
Phase III: Provides for the opening of all economic activities and work centers, maintaining security measures and social distancing in a geographical territory.
Phase 0 takes effect on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 and the measurement of results (number of positive infections) by department will be analyzed every 14 days. The departments that do not show increases in contagions go on to the next phase, until reaching Phase III.
These phases are complemented by specific and mandatory protocols for work centers, for independent workers and for the public transport of passengers, and all companies that wish to advance in the “de-escalation or reopening phases” must comply with new basic regulations and specific guides, including the new requirement to register as a company in the Health District through the electronic platform to be implemented soon. An important fact to note is that these records must indicate the classification of employees in the high and low risk category (people over 60 years, pregnant, people with specific medical conditions).
As a law firm we can provide advice on Occupational Health and Safety, we can provide you with recommendations, protocols and guides, as well as recommendations on labor issues, including the implementation of what is required in this last regulation regarding telework, absenteeism due to illness, mandatory reporting to the Public Health District, policy to secure transportation for suspected COVID-19 employees.