COVID-19: Your Honduras briefing by Dentons Muñoz Zacapa

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Through Executive Decree PCM-005-2020 dated February 10, 2020, a State of Health Emergency was declared throughout the country, to continue and strengthen surveillance, prevention, control, and guarantee of care for people in the event of coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

Curfew

In the context of the national health emergency and red alert for the coronavirus COVID-19, on Friday, March 20, 2020, an absolute curfew was declared throughout the country, from 6:00 pm on that Friday until Sunday, March 29, 2020, at 3:00 pm. throughout the crisis, the authorities have extended the curfew every week. At present, it is maintained until Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Circulation

The government determined to segment the population according to the completion of the digits of their identity card, passport and or meat of residents for the supply of food, medicine, fuel, with a schedule of 09:00 am to 3:00 pm, being of the following way:

  • Monday 1
  • Tuesday 2
  • Wednesday 3
  • Thursday 4
  • Friday 5

Sanctions

Only two (2) persons are allowed onboard the vehicle, only one of them may carry out the procedures. Failure to comply with this measure will be subject to the confiscation of the vehicle for the duration of the emergency and the persons on board will be detained for up to 24 hours under the Law of Coexistence and Public Safety.

Litigation

The period of suspension of work in the judiciary at the national level, is maintained from Monday 30 March until Sunday, May 24, 2020, may circulate from that date in cases of extreme need or urgency for personal or work, this only restricts the work in person, employees of that institution must perform as much work as possible from their homes.

Deadlines

For the Judiciary, the above-mentioned dates are declared UNFAIR for proceedings and procedural deadlines from 00.00 hours on Monday 30 March to 23:59 hours on Sunday 24 May 2020.

Flights

Concerning international flights scheduled during the validity of this measure, there are no authorized airports except for air, sea, and land customs, which will continue to work normally for imports and exports.

Labor Sector

The declaration of a state of emergency by the Government is not one of the grounds for suspension of the employment contract established in the Labor Code; in the case of Honduras, the Ministry of Labor has recommended that the employees agree to charge these days for vacation.

An initiative has been created to try to provide support to micro, small, and medium enterprises, which generate 70% of the jobs in Honduras so that their workers do not have to be canceled. To this end, the national congress is asked to receive, discuss and approve the agreement that consists of extending the payment of income tax in exchange for companies paying their workers.

Trade

Ministerial Agreement No. 023-2020 established maximum sales prices for the 30 products in the basic food basket, to avoid unnecessary inflation.

 

Holidays

By Executive Decree PCM021-2020, employers and workers in the private sector are authorized to agree that the holidays indicated in Article 339 of the Labor Code be considered as granted and enjoyed by workers during the period of the National Health Emergency due to the spread of COVID-19.

Banking and Insurance

Through CNBS Circular No.006/2020, temporary financial measures are approved to address the economic impact of the sectors affected by the measures adopted in the country, to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19, such as:

The institutions supervised by the National Commission of Banks and Insurances, that carry out credit operations, will be able to grant periods of grace to the debtors (natural or legal persons), that are affected, by the reduction of their cash flows, caused by the measures adopted in the country, to avoid the propagation of the Coronavirus denominated COVID-19, the periods will not be able to exceed 30 June 2020.

The Financial Institutions must establish differentiated and expeditious procedures for the reception, analysis, evaluation, and documentation of the requests for the period of grace, refinancing operations, or readjustment presented by the affected debtors.

The institutions supervised by this Commission are prohibited from charging debtors for commissions, interest on arrears, administrative or other charges associated with such relief operations.

Prevention

To carry out joint work in preventing and responding to the entry of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country, the Government of Honduras activated the National Emergency Operations Center COEN of the Secretariat of National Risk and Contingency Management Offices (COPECO), with the National Risk Management System (SINAGER).

Economy

The ICEFI recommends that governments promote special actions for the financial and banking sector, such as temporary interest rate reductions, extending credit terms, and granting soft conditions for cases of default, unemployment, or other problems arising from the crisis.

The Central Bank of Honduras approved economic measures to restrict mobility and close borders, which would be impacting the normal functioning of economic activity, so it is forecast that economic growth will be between 1.5% - 2.5% for 2020 and 2.0% - 3.0% for 2021, also, the forecasts of the BCH indicate that total inflation will be around 4.0% for the end of 2020 and 2021, associated to the absence of pressure from prospective of power fuel prices.

Health System

In Honduras and Guatemala the health systems are predominantly private, in the sense that public spending is less than 50% of the national spending on health; their health systems, the success in controlling the epidemic will require, in addition to actions in the public health subsystem, that the private health subsystem actively participates in a supportive manner for the duration of this health crisis.

Education

The Ministry of Education, through the Sub-directorate-General for Education, has implemented a strategy that allows students to continue the educational process at home, with the direct support of their father, mother, guardian or caregiver, and in coordination with teachers, through recordings of classes at the pre-basic, basic and intermediate levels.

Police Authorities

The Armed Forces and the National Police and the National Directorate of Investigation and Intelligence, the National Inter-institutional Force (FUSINA) and the National Anti-Maras and Gang Force, will support the Secretariat of State in the Health Office to implement the emergency and health plans necessary to maintain order and above all health to prevent the spread of the virus.

Persons allowed to circulate

People who are members of the institutions that are part of the National System of Risk (SINAGER), medical and nursing personnel, health regulators, relief and emergency entities accredited by their public or private institution, ambulances, members of the security and justice corps, and duly identified senior State officials may circulate.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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