Presidential Decree 142/20, of 25 May, maintains the permission to pursue industrial activities and trade in general, although establishing some restrictions mainly on opening hours for commercial establishments and organization of work. This statute is supplemented by Presidential Decree no. 184/20, of 8 July (as amended by Presidential Decree no. 195/20, of 27 July), which establishes exceptional and temporary measures to be adopted where a provincial or municipal cordon sanitaire is decreed.

 

My business is open 24h/day, am I required to close?

Yes. Pending the state of public calamity, all businesses shall be opened to the public in fix-working schedules and there were imposed some limitations to on-site workforce, as follows:

  • businesses in general, shall be opened from 7am to 7pm; and
  • on-site workforce will be gradually reinstated, and it may not exceed 50% of the entire workforce as of 26 May, and 75% as of 8 June. On-site workforce shall be completely reinstated from 29 June onwards.

In the case of commercial establishments located in municipalities or provinces subject to a cordon sanitaire:

  • general trade operates from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m;
  • workers at the workplace may not exceed 50% of the workforce; and
  • the number of customers inside the facilitie may not exceed 50% of its capacity.

Without prejudice to the imposition of a temporary closure of the establishment, any breach of the measures above gives rise to a fine ranging between AKZ 100,000.00 and AKZ 250,000.00.

 

Are restaurants and similar establishments back in business?

Yes, restaurants and similar establishments are allowed to operate according to the following terms:

  • from 26 May, Monday to Saturday, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.;
  • from 8 June, every day until 10.30 pm; and
  • the occupation of these establishments shall not exceed 50% of their capacity.

Self-service and kiosk services are not allowed.

Takeaway or homedeliveries are allowed everyday between 0.00 am to 10 pm.

In the case of restaurants and similar establishments located in municipalities or provinces subject to a cordon sanitaire:

  • the opening hours will be from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m;
  • the number of customers within the establishment may not exceed 50% of its capacity; and
  • takeaway services or home deliveries will operate every day between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Without prejudice to the imposition of a temporary closure of the establishment, the breach of the measures above gives rise to a fine between AKZ 100,000.00 and AKZ 250,000.00.

 

I do not want to jeopardise the safety and health of my workers. Can I remain closed?

Unlike the diplomas that preceded it, Presidential Decree 142/20 does not specifically regulate this matter and opens the possibility for any company/businessman to close premises.

 

Should I follow specific rules during the opening hours?

Yes, companies shall adopt protection and biosecurity measures to ensure protection and safety of their workers, costumers and the public in general. Companies that fall to implement such measures may be held liable.

 

What type of measures should be adopted?

According to the annex to Presidential Decree 142/20, commercial establishments must strictly comply with a set of guidelines, of which we highlight the following:

  • Companies must ensure that 70% ethyl alcohol, alcohol gel or other products necessary for the safety of customers are made available at the entrance of businesses;

  • in terms of capacity, commercial establishments open to the public shall ensure a minimum distance of 2 metres between individuals in the premises and display in a visible place at the entrance the maximum capacity of people inside the establishment;
  • Queues must be organized outside the establishment, with a minimum distance of 2 metres;
  • Mandatory use of masks for workers and customers;
  • Safety and hygiene recommendations issued by health authorities must be displayed in a visible spot in the commercial establishments;

In the specific case of catering activities, we highlight the following guidelines:

  • Reduction of the maximum capacity of the establishment (including esplanade) in order to ensure a minimum physical distance of 2 meters between people on the premises;
  • Arrangement of chairs and tables so as to ensure a distance of at least 2 metres between persons;
  • Limit of 4 persons per table;
  • Prior booking of seats by clients.

In addition to the measures described above, in the municipalities and provinces subject to a cordon sanitaire, any activities and meetings held in enclosed spaces must not exceed 50% of their capacity nor bring more than 50 people into the same room.

 

Is the carrying-out of industrial activities in general, as well as agricultural production, still conditioned?

No. Presidential Decree no. 142/20 maintains the permission to carry out of these activities.

 

What about the functioning of the markets?

Public markets maintain their operations and are open to the public five days a week, i.e., from Tuesday to Saturday, between 6 am and 3 p.m., being allowed to trade in general. The use of face masks is mandatory for both buyers and sellers.

Door-to-door sales are allowed in the same way, provided that sellers and buyers remain at a safety distance.   

It is prohibited the sale and purchase of products on public roads by street vendors on Sundays and Mondays. Noncompliance with this rule constitutes a crime of disobedience punishable under the Criminal Law.

Informal street markets with high attendance of people are forbidden.

In municipalities and provinces subject to a cordon sanitaire:

  • public and craft markets are open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m;
  • individual street sales are allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m;

The sale and purchase of products resulting from the doo-to-door sale carried out outside the established days and schedule, gives rise to a fine ranging between AKZ 5,000.00 and 10,000.00, for the sellers, and AKZ 10,000.00 and AKZ 25,000.00, for the buyers.

 

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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.