The Ministry of Health, jointly with the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and the Mexican Institute of Social Security (“IMSS”), recently published specific technical guidelines for companies and work centers to resume activities. These activities comprise the third stage of the reopening of socioeconomic activities, which takes into consideration the sanitary safety protocols to reduce the risks associated with the pandemic generated by SARS-CoV2 (COVID -19).
The traffic light alerts of the epidemiological risks will be dictated by the federal authority and will be divided into maximum alert (red), high risk (orange), intermediate risk (yellow) and low or ordinary risk (green).
In the New Normality, companies will be allowed to restart operations and it will only be required for them to consider the guidelines and to comply with the epidemiological risk traffic light system. This means that no prior authorization is required.
In this phase, the online self-evaluation is statutory for companies with essential activities and must be done through the webpage www.nuevanormalidad.gob.mx. Companies engaged in construction, mining and transportation equipment activities that already completed their self-evaluation during the period from May 18-31, will not be required to do it again.
Online self-assessment will be voluntary for companies that are engaged in non-essential activities, regardless of its size.
One of the most relevant aspects of the guidelines is in relation to the vulnerable group of employees. The following is established in this regard:
- Vulnerable personnel include those that given certain health conditions or characteristics are more likely to develop a complication or to perish from COVID-19. Pregnant or lactating women, people with obesity, 60+ senior adults, people living with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, HIV, cancer, disability, organ transplant, liver or lung disease, as well as neurological disorders (epilepsy, vascular accidents, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury).
- It is forbidden for vulnerable people to return to work in maximum alert regions (red traffic light).
- Work centers located in regions considered high and intermediate risk (orange and yellow), should implement measures to reduce the risk of the vulnerable population and consider not calling them to work or provide flexibility to employees who live at home or are caring for minors, older adults and people in situations of vulnerability or higher risk of contagion.
- It is recommended that before or within the first month of returning to work, vulnerable people are allowed to consult with their family or company doctor to assess the control of their condition and to strengthen hygiene-dietary measures, lifestyles and pharmacological situations.
- Personnel with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease should consult with their doctor for at least one time every three months.
Work center's obligations are limited to compliance with the measures included in the guidelines. If they are subject to an inspection from a competent federal authority, they must demonstrate full compliance.
The Partners, Counsels and Associates of our Labor, Administrative and Health practice groups, together with their associates, are available to comment in more detail the content of this note.
Jorge de Presno
Juan Carlos Serra
Alvaro Gonzalez -Schiaffino