What measures can the State take to stop the spread of COVID-19? Could the Government or other public entities impose restrictions on me (for example, limit freedom of circulation, restrict my establishment’s opening hours) based on the need to fight the COVID-19?

The COVID-19 could also warrant regulatory or authoritative measures on the part of Government with a direct impact on private businesses, including suspending their activities or shutting down services, establishments and the enjoyment of public or private places, or the compulsory confinement or provision of health care to persons who constitute a danger to public health – as originally occurred following the declaration of the state of emergency, with the closure of public services of the central and local administration of the State, in the meantime reopened –, as well as the implementation of conditions to the functioning of private commercial establishments and of markets open to public, as it was more recently determined, following the transition from a state of emergency to state of public calamity, with the imposition of limitations on the presence of the workforce, respect for biosecurity rules and physical separation, and the adoption of the rule of temperature control and the installation of hand sanitization points at the entrance and inside the premises (Article 21).

Businesses can anticipate those measures and set up a plan of action in the event of contagion, quarantine, compulsory shutdown, limitations to air travel or circulation and shutdown of non-essential public services.

The Presidential Decree no. 72/22 of 31 March, keeps the obligation to show evidence of a vaccination certificate (or a document that proves the complete immunisation) before public or private entities. The vaccination certificate is issued by the Ministry of Health in favour of all citizens who have received the full dose of the vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vaccination certificates or equivalent documents issued by foreign States are also recognised and accepted. The vaccination certificate must be presented, by citizens over the age of 18, in the following cases:

  • Applying for a public tender for a civil servant position, namely in the education, health and defence and security sectors;
  • Travel outside the country;
  • Interprovincial displacements in public and private transports;
  • Moto-taxi services, by the drivers and passengers;
  • In urban and interurban public transports, by the drivers and assistants;
  • Access to public services, public companies and similar entities, by officials, workers, service providers and customers;
  • Access to private services, by managers, workers and customers;
  • Access to educational and teaching establishments, by teachers and administrative staff;
  • Access to restaurants and similar establishments, by the managers, workers and clients;
  • Access to commercial establishments, by managers, workers and clients;
  • Access to naval clubs and marinas;
  • Access to sports venues, by all individuals;
  • Access to beauty saloons, barbershop and similar stablishments, by managers, workers and clients;
  • Access to reception halls, party venues and similar;
  • Access to places of worship, by all individuals;
  • Access to tourist and local accommodation establishments;
  • Access to museums, monuments and similar;
  • Access to cinemas and theatres;
  • Access to casinos and gambling houses;
  • Access to gyms;
  • Access to indoor and outdoor activities and meetings;
  • Access to musical showst, nightclubs and similar, by all of the attendees; and
  • Access to beaches, public swimming pools and other bathing areas.

The obligation to show evidence of a vaccination certificate, as referred to in the preceding paragraphs, may be substituted by the presentation of a SARS-CoV-2 test with a negative outcome completed no more than 48 hours before.

Notwithstanding the fact that this obligation shall only apply to citizens over the age of 18, it is especially recommended that minors aged 12 years old or older shall provide a vaccination certificate.

Managers of the institutions and establishments covered by the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, shall ensure compliance with the requirements concerning the presentation of the vaccination certificate. Failure to comply with this obligation shall be punished by a fine ranging from AKZ. 350,000.00 and AKZ. 650,000.00 (without prejudice to the cumulative application of other types of liability). Public managers are obliged to strictly supervise the presentation of vaccination certificates. Failure to comply with this obligation may result in a disciplinary action, under the terms of the law.


Am I under an obligation to abide by the guidelines and public health protection measures of the authorities?

Public health guidelines issued by authorities are not always binding. However, compliance with those guidelines is linked to the performance of care duties, which may in turn protect and release your company from any damage claims based on tort (or other reasons).

Companies should therefore be prepared to identify and react quickly and appropriately to any legislative or regulatory amendments and to review mere instructions or guidelines.

Companies should also duly record any prevention measures taken by your own initiative or to comply with any laws, guidelines or administrative regulations in connection with the COVID-19.


Am I entitled to compensation for any restrictions imposed by those measures?

In very exceptional circumstances, the State could be forced to pay compensation based on any measures adopted to fight the COVID-19 which, although legal, caused special and unusual damages. The State could enact a specific act creating exceptional compensation or liability limitation regimes.

If, in the context of the public calamity situation, the measures taken unlawfully harm a natural or legal person, the latter will be entitled to compensation under general terms (Article 4/4 of the Civil Protection Law), being also established the right to compensation of the owners of the immovable or movable property used (Article 4/5 of the Law of Civil Protection).




This information is being updated on a regular basis.

The information provided and the opinions expressed herein have been prepared with the help of VdA Legal Partners and are of a general nature. They are not in lieu of appropriate legal advice in connection with specific cases.