Welcome to #FreshStartMonday!
Given the rise in infections resulting from COVID-19, today we are sharing a summary regarding the recent applicable measures to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus:
Ministerial Agreement 193-2022, Amendment to Ministerial Agreement 158-2022 of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) dated May 11, 2022, which contains the alert system and health provisions for the opening to the new normal
On July 15, 2022, said Agreement was published in the Diario Oficial (Official Gazette), which contains an amendment to Ministerial Agreement Number 158-2022 of the MSPAS, providing that in order to open all economic, labor, educational activities in all its levels, techniques, training and child care, with the purpose of avoiding the increase in the spread and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, all the inhabitants of the Republic of Guatemala, regardless of whether or not they have been previously infected with the COVID-19 disease, must comply with the following mandatory health provisions:
a. Hand hygiene, either by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or through disinfection with liquid or gel alcohol with a minimum concentration of 70%.
b. Physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters between people, during red alert, both in open and closed spaces.
Said distancing is recommended for closed spaces during orange alert.
The aforementioned obligation is not required during yellow and green alerts.
c. Compulsory and proper use of a mask, regardless of the color of the health alert, in the following places:
- 1. Public and private hospitals, health centers, swab and vaccination stations, medical clinics and laboratories.
- 2. Care and assistance centers for the elderly.
- 3. Detention and arrest centers.
- 4. Urban and extra-urban transportation.
Children under 2 years of age and people who, due to a medical condition have a contraindication, are excepted from this obligation.
The use of a mask in places other than those previously described is highly recommended, regardless of the color of the alert.
These provisions will be amended considering the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and new scientific evidence that becomes known.
Government Agreement 179-2022, Regulation on prevention measures to mitigate the spread of SARS COV-2 in the workplace
On July 20, 2022, Government Agreement 179-2022 was published, with the purpose of adapting prevention measures to mitigate the spread of SARS COV-2 in the workplace. As of the day of its publication, the prevention measures to mitigate the spread of SARS COV-2 began to govern, which are of public order but may be superseded by the employer or through collective negotiation with worker organizations, as follows:
a. Every employer must comply with:
- The sanitary provisions issued by the competent authority and the provisions on occupational health and safety set forth by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.
- Regulated labor rights that aim to minimize the spread of SARS COV-2, remaining subjected to handling the health alert level in the municipality where the work center is located.
- Maintaining physical social distancing within the work centers in accordance with the Sanitary provisions, and if the aforementioned distancing is not possible, physical barriers must be available.
- Cleaning and disinfecting work areas, tools, materials and surfaces of frequent use or contact, providing supplies for disinfection.
- Providing liquid and gel alcohol with a concentration of at least 70%, as well as soap.
- If the Health Alerts and Sanitary Provisions System provides for the use of personal protection equipment, the employer must provide it.
- Providing information, dissemination and signaling campaigns to encourage employee participation; health provisions issued by the competent bodies should be disseminated as well.
- Scheduling and allowing occupational health and safety monitors to train workers on strategies to minimize the spread of SARS COV-2.
b. Restrictions for the employer:
- Forcing the worker to provide the services for which he or she was hired without the mandatory without the mandatory protection measures.
- Suspending asymptomatic or symptomatic workers without following the sanitary measures for COVID-19 issued by the MSPAS and/or set forth in the occupational health and safety risk prevention plans.
c. Obligations for workers:
- All workers must comply with the sanitary measures issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance, and those issued by other competent authorities approved by the MSPAS.
d. Restrictions for workers:
- Carry out acts that prevent compliance with occupational health and safety measures in work operations and processes.
- Damage or destroy protective equipment or refuse to use them.
- DDamage, destroy, hide or remove posters, banners and other means that promote a culture of prevention and control regarding the spread of SARS COV-2.
- Job performance without the protective equipment provided by the employer.
e. Compulsory plans in the workplace:
- The employer is required to have an occupational risk prevention or occupational health and safety plan that is duly authorized by the competent authorities, which includes the biological risks of COVID-19 in the workplace and a prevention and control strategy.
f. Obligations of the occupational health and safety monitor(s):
- Train workers periodically on the measures implemented in the workplace for the prevention and control of COVID-19.
- Ensure compliance with the sanitary standards and provisions issued by the MSPAS regarding COVID-19.
- Participate in the preparation of the occupational risk prevention or occupational health and safety plan and ensure that the plans include the methodology and schedule for personal training regarding COVID-19; and ensure its compliance with legal requirements.
- Work with the bipartite committee in cases where it is appropriate to set up a committee.
- Answer workers’ questions and concerns regarding COVID-19.
Any violation of this agreement will be sanctioned by the Departmental delegate of the General Labor Inspection who will impose a fine ranging between eight (8) and sixteen (16) current minimum monthly wages for non-agricultural activities. For workers, the fine will range between four (4) and eight (8) current minimum daily wages for non-agricultural activities, according to the provisions set forth in article 272 literal d) of the Labor Code.
Ministerial Agreement 1600-2022, Sanitary Regulation for the prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the National Educational System centers
On May 23, 2022, the Ministry of Education published Ministerial Agreement 1600-2022, which contains the Sanitary Regulations for the prevention and control of SARS-COV-2 infections, for national educational system centers, comprised by school and extracurricular education subsystems at all levels, establishing the following prevention and biosafety measures:
- Mandatory and adequate use of a mask, except for people who, due to their medical condition, have a contraindication.
- In interior environments, doors and windows should be kept open,preferably with cross ventilation. Educators should teach classes as close to the ventilation flow as possible, using the mask at all times.
- Classroom and furniture organization, as well as any activity within the educational center, must ensure that a minimum physical distance of 1.5 meters between people is maintained..
- All educational centers will aim to have spaces dedicated to hand hygiene with soap and water, or alcohol gel preferably concentrated at 70%.Before and after each day, classroom surfaces must be disinfected using the disinfectants and formulas approved in the rules and regulations issued by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.
- Educational centers must guarantee that, during the time for food consumption, students, teachers, administrative and/or service personnel avoid sharing the food they consume and maintain the physical distance.
At this time, we recommend that you do not let your guard down and continue taking care of yourself.