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. 173/21, of 8 July, which approves an updated version of the exceptional and temporary measures in force during the state of public calamity.

 

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 open from 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.;
  • on-site workforce must not exceed 75% of the entire workforce; and
  • the number of customers inside the facilities may not exceed 75% 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 250,000.00 and AKZ 400,000.00.

 

Are restaurants and similar establishments back in business?

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

  • On-site catering services from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.;
  • Occupation of these establishments shall not exceed 50% of their capacity;
  • It is set a maximum limit of 4 persons per table
  • Self-service and kiosk services are not allowed.

Without prejudice to the imposition of a temporary closure of the establishment, for a period between 30 to 90 days depending on its severity, the breach of the measures above gives rise to a fine between AKZ 250,000.00 and AKZ 400,000.00.

 

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, all activities and meetings held in enclosed spaces must not exceed 50% of the room’s capacity, nor bring more than 500 people into the same room. Activities and meetings that gather a number of persons surpassing the abovemnetioned limits are subject to prior authorisation from the health authorities.

Breach of the provisions contained in the previous paragraph shall be punished with a fine ranging from AKZ 400.000,00 to AKZ 500.000,00.

 

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 and craft markets maintain their operations and are open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, between 6.00 am and 6.00 pm. 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.

Informal street markets with high attendance of people are forbidden.

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 15,000.00 and 20,000.00, for the sellers, and AKZ 20,000.00 and AKZ 30,000.00, 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.