El Salvador: New Summary of Measures and Executive Decree Number 24

Written by:

Alvin Delgado and Francisco Mendoza

 

Update of the extraordinary preventive measures, in order to declare El Salvador’s territory subject to sanitary control to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Due to worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the measures currently enforced in El Salvador, which mainly affect individuals and companies are the following:

 

  1. STATE OF EMERGENCY: On March 14th, 2020, through Decree 593, the State of National Emergency for a period of 30 days, was decreed, which would end on April 12th, 2020. Such regime was extended on April 12, 2020, through Decree 634, ending on May 16th, 2020. A State of Emergency gives the Government the faculty to take certain measures to ensure the public health and the population, but does not imply the suspension or restriction of constitutional rights and guarantees.

 

  1. COVID-19 ISOLATION, QUARANTINE, OBSERVANCE AND VIGILANCE ACT: On May 5th, 2020, the Salvadoran Congress approved a new act in order to regulate the terms and conditions for the isolation, quarantine, observance and vigilance of any individual subject to such control and restrictive measures as a consequence of the COVID19 measures issued by the Salvadoran Government. Said law entered into force on May 7, concluding its effects on May 19, 2020.

 

  1. EXECUTIVE DECREE Number 24: On May 9th, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a new Executive Decree in order to establish additional provisions according to the COVID-19 Isolation, Quarantine, Observance and Vigilance Act, as well as to limit individuals and companies that could commute and/or carry out their operations in the Salvadoran territory. Executive Decree 24 came to repeal the previous Executive Decrees number 22 and 23. Executive Decree 24 entered into force on the same day, and its effects will last for a period of 13 days, ending on May 22nd, 2020.

 

Below we have included a brief summary of the extraordinary measures adopted by the Government of El Salvador, in accordance with Executive Decree 24:

 

I. CIRCULATION MEASURES.

 

Any individual who by reason of food supply, purchase of medicines or bank transactions, will do so according to their last digit of their National Identification Document, passport or resident card for foreigners, as follows:

Last Digit of the National Identification Number Days enabled
0-1-2
Thursday 7, Monday 11, Friday 15 and Sunday May 17, 2020
3-4
Friday 8, Tuesday 12, Saturday 16 and Tuesday May 19, 2020
5-6
Saturday 9, Wednesday 13, Sunday 17 and Thursday May 21, 2020
7-8-9
Sunday 10, Thursday 14, Monday 18 and Wednesday May 20, 2020

Those people who do not have their National Identification Document number, may circulate with a certification thereof, issued by the National Registry of Natural Persons. The Supermarkets, pharmacies and banks verify the National Identification Document number, passport or residence card of the clients, corresponds to the authorized day above for them to circulate.

 

The above will not apply when it refers to:

 

  • Health System Employees
  • Policemen
  • Army

II. INDIVIDUALS AUTHORIZED TO CIRCULATE ARE THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Employees and contractors of the Entities authorized to commute to their workplaces, in accordance with Covid-19 Isolation, Quarantine, Observance and Vigilance Act.
  2. Employees and contractors of the entities authorized to commute to their workplaces, in accordance with Executive Decree number 24.
  3. Ministry of Finance´s and the Salvadoran National Registry´s officials and employees.
  4. People who assist or care for children, the elderly, people with disabilities or people vulnerable due to chronic diseases, who must move due to any emergency or periodic medical attention.

III. THE FOLLOWING ENTITIES THAT ARE EXPRESSLY ALLOWED TO CARRY OUT THEIR SERVICES:

 

    1. Call Centers whose business activity consists in the sale and distribution of medicines, takeout food, airline customer service, electricity services, telecommunications services, drinking water, banking and financial services, as well as medical services.
    2. Food and beverage production industry, such as: cereals, milk powder, pasta, flours, baby food, sugar, salt, coffee, consommé, condiments, tomato sauce, mustard and the like and its supply chain, except for chips, snacks, goodies, candies, non-perishable foods not included above, carbonated drinks, similar and alcoholic beverages
    3. Insecticides and pesticides.
    4. Cleaning and hygiene products for surfaces and personal hygiene products; such as disposable diapers, disinfectants, detergents, soap, toothpaste, and bleach.
    5. Pharmacies, drug stores and pharmaceutical laboratories, except for the cosmetic industry.
    6. Clinical laboratories.
    7. Agroindustry and its distribution chain.
    8. Agriculture and livestock, beekeeping, pig farming and fish farming.
    9. Industry of inputs for agriculture.
    10. Artisan bakery, chains and franchises are excluded.
    11. Medical, nursing, dentistry, ophthalmology and hearing services.
    12. Electric power generation, distribution and marketing services.
    13. Home delivery of food and pharmaceutical products.
    14. Private transportation of personnel, except public passenger transportation.

DISCLAIMER: In accordance with the provisions of Executive Decree 24, public passenger transportation will only operate to transport duly identified health system employees. The Public Administration and Entities authorized to operate, must guarantee the mobilization of their employees, from the place of their residence to their work place and vice versa.

15) Cargo transportation services for the express activities in Decree 24

16) Fuels and products related to the generation of electrical energy and operation of gas stations.

17) Construction and civil engineering services, only for natural disaster mitigation and prevention works, authorized by the Ministry of Public Works.

18) Public and private drinking water distribution services, pipes, including purified water.

19) Telephone, cable and internet services and recharging points of sale.

20) Funeral and cemetery services.

21) Aviation support services such as dispatchers, ground support, loading and unloading of aircraft, crews, maintenance of all types of equipment used in airports, Aeronautical maintenance and the like.

22) Media and press

23)Collection, transport, treatment and disposal services for solid and bio-infectious waste.

 

The aforementioned authorized employees are not allowed to circulate from one municipality to another, except for work purposes, or if they reside in a municipality where there are no supermarkets. All authorized employees must carry an identification card, plus a letter from their employer, authorizing their mobility and identifying the employee with his name, signature, National Identification Document number, address and phone number of the employer.

 

All companies are forced to send their employees over 60 years old, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, such as kidney failure, cancer, lupus, diabetes, among others, to their homes to quarantine lockdown. DISCLAIMER: Executive Decree 24 establishes that people with the aforementioned diseases will have free transportation from their home to the Hospital and back, which will be provided by the Government.

 

Authorized entities must comply, within their premises, with the following sanitary measures:

 

    • Keep social distancing. (no less than one meter and a half)
    • Placing hand sanitizer dispensers.
    • Wash their hands constantly.
    • Provide the Employees a mask at all times.
    • Cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing.
    • Avoid touching their faces.
    • Comply with all necessary measures to ensure its employees from a possible infection, among which are: social distancing and aseptic tasks.

All those individuals who do not comply with the aforementioned measures, may incur in pertinent criminal and civil liabilities. All those companies that carry out an unauthorized activity will be temporarily closed, in accordance with the respective laws.

 

IV. CONTAINMENT MEASURES.

 

i. Restaurants may only operate in “takeout” mode.

ii. The activities of all non-perishable food companies, as well as their transportation and distribution.

iii. Opening of shopping centers to the public. Only the supermarkets, banks and pharmacies will be open within them.

iv. Florists, patisseries and warehouses dedicated to the sale of celebration products.

 

V. MINISTRY OF LABOR AND MUNICIPAL COLLABORATION.

 

All those authorized entities that can continue carrying out their activities, in accordance with this Decree, must comply with the occupational health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. The Ministry will ensure that these protocols are being fulfilled both in public institutions and municipalities. Likewise, the General Direction of Labor Inspection and Social Security will verify compliance with the work places authorized in this Decree.

 

It is established that the Mayors, Municipal Councils, CAM, and Civil Protection Commissions must collaborate with the PNC, in controlling the markets and the sales made therein. They will also verify that people have the authorized National Identification Document number, thus verifying that they comply with the sanitary measures.

 

Executive Decree 24, such as Executive Decrees 22 and 23, establishes that all activities or companies, previously authorized by resolution of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare or any government authority, will be suspended.

*Please note that these measures are currently in force and are subject to change at any time, if further decrees are issued by the President and the Legislative Assembly.

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