Phase 2 of economic revival in El Salvador

Kattya Vidal

Executive Decree 31 aims to develop the principles, conditions of mode, time and form, as well as specific protocols that promote the gradual reactivation of economic, labor, administrative and social activities, both in the public and private sectors, under conditions necessary to guarantee the right to health and life of workers, employers and the population in general, in the development of the pandemic generated by COVID-19; This right was published in the Official Gazette on June 14, 2020, entering into force on the same date; and contains the following measures:

Sanitary measures:

The Ministry of Health will be in charge of issuing the general guidelines for the adoption of sanitary measures in the resumption of the activities of the public and private sector, thus becoming the competent authority that will execute the actions for compliance with the provisions established in the decree.

The State organs and the economic sectors must prepare their respective sanitary protocols which will be presented to the Ministry of Health for their corresponding validation and authorization.

Factors that determine the gradual economic reopening:

a. Evaluation of the epidemiological situation;

b. Installed capacity of the integrated national health system;

c. Sectors and businesses with lower relative risk rates of COVID-19 infection; and

d. Sectors of economic relevance in terms of employment, number of companies, contribution to GDP and level of exports.

In case of worsening of the epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Health may reform the terms for the resumption of activities regulated in the decree, based on the principle of primacy to health and life, as well as that of guaranteeing economic freedom.

Reopening step according to sanitary protocols for each phase:

Public and private entities and individuals in general, must respect the gradualness in the reactivation of economic, labor and social activities, in accordance with the modalities established by the decree, so that until the date corresponding to the phase of restarting a certain activity, this sector must avoid exposure to COVID-19 infections, keeping its personnel at their respective addresses.

The order of activities and chronologies of the respective activities are detailed in said decree (you can consult it in the link attached at the end).

We are currently in Phase 1, and we are about to enter Phase 2. However, this advance may be subject to changes and new guidelines from the Government, as the pandemic develops. Phase 2 currently consists of:

Phase 2: Expanding Production and Social Activities (from Tuesday, July 7 to Tuesday, July 21, 2020), which include:

1. Phase 1 sectors;

2. Plastic industry;

3. Paper and cardboard industry;

4. Shoe industry;

5. Cosmetic industry;

6. Other activities of the manufacturing industry;

7. Creative industries;

8. Professional services;

9. Business services;

10. Call centers;

11. Real estate;

12. In Shopping Centers it is authorize:

a. What is established in phase 1

b. Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, scanning services, public services and telephone, cable and internet services;

c. The operation of restaurants and food areas in open and closed spaces, in accordance with sanitary and biosafety protocols proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and authorized by the Ministry of Health;

d. Opticians, beauty salons, hairdressers and barbers, business services by appointment.

EXPLANATORY NOTE: Activities for recreational purposes are not allowed.

13. Restaurants and cafes in accordance with sanitary and biosafety protocols proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and authorized by the Ministry of Health;

14. Collective transport in accordance with strict sanitary and biosafety protocols, authorized by the Ministry of Health on the proposal of the Vice Ministry of Transport;

15. People can go for a walk following the biosafety health protocols;

16. Aviation school.

In addition, the aforementioned decree maintains the following measures:

  • Individual quarantines of returned Salvadorans
  • Salvadorans from abroad will be received by the authorities of the General Directorate of Migration and the Ministry of Health, in order to register their income and submit them to medical examinations, in order to determine the place where they must keep a quarantine for a maximum period of fifteen days, by duly reasoned medical resolution.
  • If the test is negative, they will be sent to their place of residence.

Vulnerable groups

Workers over sixty years of age, women in pregnancy, postpartum and exclusive breastfeeding, people with chronic kidney failure or transplant recipients, hypertensive patients, people diagnosed with cancer, degenerative and immunosuppressive, people with disabilities, chronic lung disease or morbid obesity, may not be affected by labor if they choose not to attend their workplace, being last in the labor force.

The decree can be downloaded here.