Mexico Issues Guidelines for Reopening Economic Activities
On May 29, 2020, the Mexican Ministry of Health, Department of the Economy, Department of Labor and Social Welfare, and the Mexican Social Security Institute (“IMSS”) jointly published in the Official Journal of the Federation new Specific Technical Guidelines for the Reopening of Economic Activities applicable throughout Mexico (the “Guidelines”).
The Guidelines implement the weekly Health Alert System, which is a “stop light system” for epidemiological risk tracked by region (state or municipal), which will determine the level of health alert and identify the types of authorized activities that may to be conducted.
Beginning June 1, 2020, businesses will be able to resume operations if they comply with the Guidelines and the epidemiological risk stop light system, and no prior authorization will be required. Essential businesses must file the self-assessment online at the following link: www.nuevanormalidad.gob.mx.
Businesses conducting newly recognized essential activities that have registered as such prior to June 1, 2020 will not be required to refile the self-assessment.
Currently, in accordance with the health alert system, all of Mexico is on maximum alert (red pursuant to the epidemiological risk stop light system) with the exception of Zacatecas, so on June 1, 2020 only essential businesses will be allowed to continue or resume operations. Non-essential businesses will be allowed to resume operations when the stop light in their region turns orange, but only with 30% of their workforce.
Additionally, the Guidelines include individuals who have received transplants, as well as people with neurological disorders such as epilepsy, strokes, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injuries, as part of the high-risk (vulnerable) group. Likewise, the Guidelines state that employers should “consider allowing leave or being flexible about attendance” for employees who care for minors, the elderly or high-risk individuals. Further, employees with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are directed to consult with their physician at least once every three months.
Note that even when self-assessments are optional for non-essential businesses, Mexican labor and health authorities may conduct inspections and request compliance with the measures set forth in the Guidelines.
Finally, some state-level authorities have implemented local measures that may conflict with the federal Guidelines. In some cases, such as in the state of Chihuahua, they are more restrictive, so it is important to monitor and understand the contents of local decrees.
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