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Legal Summary 12/2020

Legal Summary 12/2020

Decree whereby the overall Alarm Status is declared for attending the COVID-19 coronavirus health emergency.

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Decree whereby the overall Alarm Status is declared for attending the COVID-19 Coronavirus health emergency.

May 14, 2020

Decree number 4.198 was published in Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela N° 6.535 Extraordinary, dated May 12, 2020 whereby the overall alarm status is declared for the purposes of allowing the Executive to adopt urgent, effective and necessary measures involving the protection and preservation of health of the Venezuelan population, and mitigating and eliminating epidemic risks of the COVID-19 coronavirus and any possible strands, ensuring thereby a timely, effective and efficient attention of the cases that may originate.

Amongst the measures that may be adopted by the Executive, as per the provisions contained in this Decree, are:

  • Ordering circulation restrictions at certain geographic areas, as well as for entering or leaving restricted zones, whenever this may be deemed necessary as a measure for protection against or containment of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • Ordering the suspension of employment activity for those job functions that cannot be undertaken via remote (home office), except for certain cases such as domestic public services companies, fuel and lubricants selling establishments, healthcare services, pharmacies, sellers of short-term expiry medication and medical supplies, carbon dioxide (dry ice), oxygen (whether gas or liquid intended for the operation of medical facilities), those engaged in activities involving the food distribution chain and availability, the National Port System, those activities relating to drinking water supply and transportation of gas for household use and fuels intended for supplying gas stations for land transportation, ports and airports.
  • Ordering the suspension of international flights into the Venezuelan territory or departing from the Venezuelan territory for as long as this suspension may be deemed convenient, or whenever there may be a risk of passengers or merchandise arrivals bearing the COVID-19 coronavirus, or whenever such transit may represent a potential risk for virus containment.

Additionally, the measures contained in Decree number 4.160 dated March 13, 2020 are hereby ratified, namely:

  • The mandatory use of protective mask in all types of public transportation, hospitals and public spaces.
  • The suspension of school and academic activity nationwide.
  • The suspension of public events, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, showrooms, sport events and any kind of public gatherings, nationwide.
  • Spaces such as parks, beaches and resorts, whether public or privately managed, are to remain closed to the public.

The Superintendency of Institutions of the Banking Sector (SUDEBAN) is ordered to establish the conditions for rendering public and private online banking services.

Next, the concurring measures established in the event of contagion or suspected contagion are hereby ratified and, security enforcement public agencies are authorized to conduct any necessary inspections to any establishment, individual or vehicle if there are grounds to suspect any breaches to the provisions contained in this decree.

The final provisions of this decree empower the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to issue other social, economic and health-related measures as deemed convenient in order to continue attending to the extraordinary and exceptional circumstance which is the subject matter of this decree.

Similarly, it is hereby ratified that the Public Administration at the national, state and municipal levels, both centralized and de-centralized, shall provide any support in connection with the measures and implement all applicable plans and protocols according to their competencies for the purposes of preventing and controlling this health-related event, under the coordination corresponding to the National Executive.

It is hereby reaffirmed that the suspension or interruption of an administrative procedure as a result of the activity suspension measures or of the circulation restrictions issued, may not be considered as a cause attributable to the interested party and it may not be alleged as cause for delay or tardiness in the compliance of the obligations of the public administration. In any case, upon the suspension or restriction override, the public administration must immediately resume the procedure.  

Finally, this decree will be effective for 30 days, subject to extension for 30 additional days, until the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic illness and its potential strands containment is deemed adequate, and all contagion factors are duly controlled. This decree will come into full force and effect as of the date of publication in the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

© 2020 Ostos, Velázquez & Asociados, RIF: J-00256910-7. KPMG Escritorio Jurídico, RIF: J-30435724-9, sociedad civil venezolana de personas y miembro de la organización global de firmas miembro independientes de KPMG, afiliadas a KPMG International Limited, una compañía inglesa limitada por garantía. Todos los derechos reservados.

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