Beyond COVID-19: Crisis response or road to recovery?
Crisis response or road to recovery?
The Mexican Ministry of Health has issued a new resolution mandating extraordinary measures aimed at addressing and mitigating the evolving COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico (the “Resolution”). An overview of the key provisions of the Resolution follows:
A. Effective immediately and up until April 30, only essential activities are to be conducted by private and public parties. For purposes of the Resolution, essential activities include (but are not limited to):
B. Essential activities are subject to mandatory social distancing measures and shall not concentrate more than 50 people at a time.
C. The Resolution also urges Mexican residents to continue adopting social distancing measures, with particular emphasis on voluntarily staying home as much as possible.
The Mexican government has repeatedly stated that no mandatory quarantine will be enforced against Mexican residents and the Resolution is consistent with this approach.
The Resolution does not include any express penalties for companies that may fail to follow its provisions. However, breach of the Resolution may, in fact, lead to administrative and/or criminal penalties based on the existing regulation. However, there is room for interpretation.
Unfortunately, the Resolution is not abundantly clear and still leaves some matters to interpretation in addition to the application of fines and sanctions (e.g. the list of essential activities being worded on a non-exhaustive manner). Perhaps most notably, in our opinion, the Resolution does not include an express declaration of a “sanitary contingency,” which would be necessary to trigger certain prohibitions and obligations for employers in Mexico.
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, it would be reasonable to expect the Resolution to be supplemented and/or expanded on by supplementary decrees or administrative resolutions in the next few days.
This is the second in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Mexico series on COVID-19 regulation and developments (other articles in this series are available here). This article is not intended to provide (nor shall it be construed as) legal advice. Feel free to reach out to Hernán González, Dante Trevedan or your Norton Rose Fulbright contact for additional updates and specific advice on how the COVID-19 outbreak may impact your deal and/or the performance of contractual or regulatory obligations under Mexican law.
Let us stay connected and safe. We will get through this together.
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