COVID-19: Mexico Declares Public Health Emergency
On March 30, 2020, the Mexican government declared a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, the Ministry of Health issued new measures to suspend all “non-essential” activities until April 30, 2020 (the “Order”), and established that only those activities deemed “essential” may continue to operate.
List of “Essential” Activities under the Order
- Activities that are necessary to respond to the health emergency, such as healthcare professionals, and support staff in the entire national health system. Similarly, those activities involved in supply chain management for the healthcare sector, such as the pharmaceutical industry, including production and distribution (pharmacies); manufacture of supplies, medical equipment and healthcare technology; disposal of biohazardous and medical waste; and the cleaning and sanitizing of healthcare establishments.
- Activities involving public safety and protection of citizens; the defense of integrity and national sovereignty; administration of justice; and legislative activity, at the state and federal level.
- Activities considered fundamental to the economy: financial; revenue service; distribution and sale of energy; gas stations; distribution of water; food and non-alcoholic beverage industries; food markets; supermarkets; convenience stores; local grocery stores; passenger and cargo transportation; agricultural production, fishing and livestock, agro-industry, chemical industry and manufacturers of cleaning products; courier services; private security guards; daycare centers, nursing homes for the elderly; domestic violence shelters for women and their children; telecommunications and media; private emergency services; funeral homes and burial services; storage and cold chain of essential supplies; logistics (airports, ports and railways); as well as activities, which if suspended, could have irreversible effects on their continuation.
- Activities directly related to the operation of government social programs.
- Activities necessary to conserve, maintain and repair critical infrastructure that ensures the production and distribution of essential services; including, water, electricity, gas, petroleum, gasoline, jet fuel, basic sanitation, public transportation, hospital and medical infrastructure, among others that could be listed under this category.
The Order imposes mandatory health measures to the essential activities defined above. Such measures restrict meetings or congregations of more than 50 people; require employees to wash their hands frequently and to follow hygiene etiquette; prohibit greetings with kisses, handshakes or hugs; and provide that all other safe-distance measures issued by the Ministry of Health must be followed.
The Order also urges people residing in Mexico to comply with these measures and strictly applies them to people over 60 years of age, pregnant women or those who have recently given birth, individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic heart or lung diseases, immunosuppression, kidney or liver failure – regardless of whether their activity is deemed essential.
 On April 6, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued the Technical Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for the Order and established that the essential activity of “courier services” include electronic commerce companies and platforms, provided they comply with the required health measures.
 The Guidelines establish that activities which “could have irreversible effects on their continuation” only apply to “companies that produce steel, cement and glass, as well as information technology services that guarantee the continuity of information systems in the public, private and social sectors.” These companies must comply with additional requirements set under the Guidelines.
Juan E. Zúñiga is an international transactions attorney who has worked on cross-border deals throughout the United States, Latin America and in over 60 other countries. His practice is focused on buying and selling real estate, resort and hospitality transactions, mergers & acquisitions, overseas distribution agreements, international joint ventures, foreign trade and commerce, workouts of distressed assets, lending and investment issues. He has been particularly sought out for his handling of cross-border transactions, especially in Latin America. In this work, he represents American clients in their investments in overseas properties and in establishing subsidiary operations internationally. Additionally, he represents foreign clients in their investments in the United States. Read more about Juan here.
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