El Salvador: 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:

  • 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 622, for a period of 4 days, ending on April 16, 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. On April 16th, 2020, the Salvadoran Congress approved a new extension on of the state of emergency regime, through Legislative Decree number 631, for an additional period of 15 days; therefore, until May 1st, 2020. Unlike the state of emergency, the state of exception empowers the Government and the authorities to limit constitutional rights such as freedom of movement, right of peaceful assembly of people and the right not to be obliged to change of domicile.
  • EXECUTIVE DECREE Number 21: On April 27th, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a new Executive Decree in order to declare the territory of El Salvador as an epidemic zone subject to sanitary control to contain the spread of COVID-19. Also, it was established to limit individuals and companies could commute and/or carry out their operations in the Salvadoran territory. Executive Decree 21 came to repeal the previous Executive Decree 19, issued with the same measures. Executive Decree 21 went into effect on April 27th, 2020, and its effects will last 17 days, ending on May 16th, 2020.
  • EXECUTIVE DECREE Number 20: On April 13th, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a new Executive Decree in order to establish guidelines and develop the conditions, time and lockdown compliance, surveillance or observation of individuals subject to such control measures determined by the Ministry of Health.

Below we have included a brief summary of the extraordinary measures adopted by the Government of El Salvador, in accordance with Executive Decree 21:

I. SANITARY MEASURES

  • Mandatory lockdown for the entire Salvadoran population, except for authorized cases.
  • Who fails to comply with the mandatory lockdown and after having been tested by medical personnel and classified as a suspicious case, must keep a controlled lockdown for 30 days, to determine the presence of COVID-19. Furthermore, if said individuals were to be driving, the motor vehicle will be confiscated by the Authorities.
  • Every individual must allow the entry of the Ministry of Health personnel to their households and premises, for them to evaluate sanitary measures.
  • Only Salvadoran citizens, foreigners residing in El Salvador, members of diplomatic missions and of a consular office in the country, as well as members of their families, who prior to entering Salvadoran territory, will be able to enter the national territory, will be tested to determine what sanitary measures they must undergo.
  • The obligation to wear masks at all times is established throughout the territory.

II. INDIVIDUALS AUTHORIZED TO CIRCULATE ARE THE FOLLOWING:

  • One individual per family in order to buy: food and beverages, pharmaceutical products or any necessity goods, as well as go to any healthcare center, only twice a week. Said individual must carry an authorization issued by their family members in which he/she is designated to circulate in those places.
  • Employees authorized to commute to their workplaces, in accordance with Executive Decree 21.
  • Individuals who assist and care for children, the elderly, people with disabilities or vulnerable people who suffer chronic illnesses, who must move to a place due to an emergency or to any periodic medical attention.
  • People who, due to indispensable reasons, must go to financial and insurance entities.
  • Employees (duly identified) from health agencies, pharmacies, medical personnel, nurses, paramedics, hospital personnel, laboratories, private clinics and any other related employees.
  • People who, due to unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure or a situation of proven extreme need, must go to specific places to solve such causes.
  • Public employees that are working to fight the health pandemic, including: the Ministry of Health, FOSALUD, CONNA, ISNA, firefighters, the Police, Immigration Authorities, Customs Authorities, the Anti-trust regulatory entity, Ministry of Agriculture, the Salvadoran Consumer Protection Authority, amongst others.
  • Members of Town Councils, Civil Protection Authorities, Metropolitan Police Agents, administrative employees of Town Councils, as employees of municipal cemeteries, and any individual that works at a municipal market if this individual sells food, or any of the following goods: cleaning goods, medicines or pharmaceutical goods or any other necessity goods.
  • Some magistrates, judges and court employees who cannot stop providing their constitutional activities. As well, as some employees of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Institute of Legal Medicine.
  • Individuals or entities which provide services related to the distribution of food, and items of first need for Home delivery.
  • Personnel who work for networks and press.
  • Congressional representatives and other administrative employees of the Salvadoran Congress and the Supreme Electoral Court.
  • Individuals or entities transporting and distributing food, first need and essential items, or whose activity is the import or export of any type of merchandise.
  • Individuals who need to attend to a doctor’s appointment, including dentist emergencies, as well as individuals who need to take medical exams. These individuals must carry the corresponding documents to prove this.
  • People who must attend veterinary emergencies.
  • People that must carry out other necessary activities of economic management, duly authorized.

III. The following entities that are expressly allowed to carry out their services:

  • Call Centers whose business activity consists in the sale and distribution of medicines, takeout food, airline customer service, electricity services, telecommunications services, banking and financial services, as well as medical services.
  • Food production industry and the entire supply chain, except for chips, snacks, goodies, candies or similar products.
  • Water distribution industry, such as water bottles.
  • Industries which produce and distribute cleaning and hygiene products, as well as personal care products.
  • Pharmaceutical industry and their entire supply chain.
  • Packaging industry.
  • Agriculture and its entire supply and distribution chain.
  • Cattle breeding and its entire supply and distribution chain.
  • Beekeeping activities and its entire supply and distribution chain.
  • Fishing activities and its entire supply and distribution chain.
  • Industry related to agriculture and the entire supply and distribution chain.
  • Textile industries related only to the manufacturing of bed sheets, medical robes and bouffant caps, scrubs, masks and any other medical item that may be needed.
  • Bakery industry that cover basic family needs.
  • Cosmetic industry, provided that such products are transformed into medicines.
  • Export Companies in the product dispatch and administrative area, related to export contracts fulfillment, with previous authorization of the Ministry of Health and the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of El Salvador (PROESA).
  • Companies’ administration department who carry out investment procedures, with previous authorization of the Ministry of Health and PROESA.
  • Certain automobile repair shops, who carry out their operation exclusively to insurance companies, patrols, vehicles of authorized public entities, telecommunications companies, electricity companies, public transport and cargo, duly authorized by the Salvadoran Ministry of Health.
  • Hardware stores, operating with 30% of their capacity and only attending orders from the Salvadoran Police, the Salvadoran Social Security Authority, the Salvadoran Ministry of Health, The Health Solidarity Fund (FOSALUD), the Salvadoran Water Institute (ANDA), the Salvadoran Ministry of Transportation and Public Works, among other entities that are related to repair and construction of facilities to deal with the pandemic.
  • Financial services, including banks, savings banks, financing companies, savings and lending entities, insurance entities, debt securitization, stock market, brokerage entities, stock market products and entities in charge of pension funds; only operating with 50% of their capacity.
  • Veterinary clinics, in case of emergencies.
  • Security services.
  • Electric Generating Facilities.
  • Transportation services, operating with 50% of their capacity.
  • Gasoline stations.
  • Private transportation.
  • Freight transportation of the industries authorized by the Decree.
  • Freight Transportation that enters in Salvadoran customs for commercial exchange.
  • Propane gas distribution services.
  • Public and private drinking water distribution services, as well as its construction and maintenance.
  • Postal services, mail, parcels.
  • Funeral and cemetery services.
  • 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 such.
  • Essential personnel for the payment of payrolls of companies.
  • Public accountants and administrative staff who perform the tax obligations of companies.
  • In case it is an essential good, the Ministry of Health can authorize other industries that are not included in the previous list, that are vital for the population, only if these companies have not suspended the employment agreements.

IV. Circulation compliance, sanitary measures and identification: 

  • Vehicle Circulation: The circulation of private vehicles will be allowed for the abovementioned industries authorized to operate. Only one passenger per vehicle is allowed. In any exceptional or justified cases, more than one passenger per vehicle will be allowed, as long as they are accompanying adults to medical treatments or picking up any relative member from their workplace at very early or late hours.
  • Authorized Employees: must carry with them:
    • Use of Mask
    • The company’s identification badge.
    • Identity Document.
    • An authorization letter issued by their employer or by the head of human resources of the company, with the company and the employee´s information. The letter must include the following:
      • Activity and name of the company or the employer, name and personal information of the employee, position and duties of the employee, working schedule, address and telephone number of the employer.
    • Authorized Entities: must comply with the following sanitary measures:
      • Keep social distancing.
      • 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.
    • The Ministry of Labor will verify compliance with the provisions of the Decree N° 21 in the workplaces.
    • 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.

 

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