What measures can the State take to stop the spread of COVID-19? Could the Government or other public entities impose restrictions on me (for example, limit freedom of circulation, restrict my establishment’s opening hours) based on the need to fight the COVID-19?

COVID-19 may justify regulatory measures with a direct impact on the activity of public and/or private entities, including the suspension of activity or closure of services, establishments and sites destined for public and private use, as well as the internment or compulsory provision of healthcare to persons who constitute a danger to public health.

As part of the situation of public calamity in place, by means of Decree 56/2021, of 13 August, the Government has approved the implementation of a number of preventive measures, including, among others:

(i) Mandatory home quarantine for a period of 14 consecutive days to any citizen who had direct contact with persons infected with COVID-19;

(ii) All passengers arriving in Mozambique, even those in possession of a valid vaccination certificate:

  • have to show evidence of having been tested negative in a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test to COVID-19. The PCR test must have been completed no more than 72 hours prior to their boarding to Mozambique. In any such cases, passengers are exempted from being in quarantine at the arrival in Mozambique;
  • are subject to mandatory isolation when testing positive to a COVID-19 test underwent at the arrival in Mozambique;

(iii) Mozambican citizens and foreigners who (i) require multiple entries into Mozambique in a short period of time or (ii) make a short trip abroad, must take into consideration that the COVID-19 PCR test is only valid for 7 days, as from the date of sampling;

(iv) Mozambican citizens coming from abroad that do not present a valid PCR test for COVID-19 are (i) subject to mandatory quarantine or (ii) must undertake a COVID-19 test, at their own expense;

(v) Children from 0 to 5 years of age are not required to present a COVID-19 test when entering the national territory;

(vi) Mandatory isolation for all citizens who have been tested positive for COVID-19: (a) home isolation for all citizens that do not show symptoms that require them to be institutionalized; and (b) institutional isolation or admission at a health institution to all citizens whose symptoms require them to be admitted into such institutions;

(vii) Special protection of particularly vulnerable citizens, notably: (a) citizens aged 60 or over; (b) persons with underlying chronic health conditions deemed to belong to risk groups; and (c) pregnant women with risk pregnancies, as well as those who work in places considered to be of high risk of contamination, provided that this is duly proven by the health authorities. Those falling under any of these groups shall be released from attending work in person;

(viii) The use of masks is mandatory in crowded and public spaces, markets, common areas and collective and semi-collective passenger transports (only in cases of physical activity or any proven medical contraindication, will the use of masks be exempted). The use of visors does not exempt the mandatory use of masks;

(ix) International agreements for the suppression of visas are now valid, on a reciprocity basis;

(x) The countdown of the deadline for the permitted sojourn period in Mozambique for non-resident foreign technicians working on pivotal State projects is suspended, avoiding therefore the establishment of residence for tax purposes;

(xi) Tourist, work and touristic border visas will continue to be issued, and the issuance of visas granted for humanitarian purposes and visas public interest reasons is permitted, on an exceptional basis;

(xii) The following official documents will continue to be being issued, being in-person services provided and subject to prior appointment:

  • ID Cards;
  • Driving License;
  • Passport;
  • DIRE and temporary visa;
  • Import Clearances for Moto Vehicles.

With exception of passports, DIREs and temporary visas, the documents referred in the previous paragraph, when expired, are deemed valid until 14 September 2021.

(xiii) As a general rule (exceptions further addressed), crossing points are closed;

(xiv) Until 15 September 2021, in person classes are suspended in primary, secondary, vocational training and higher education institutions, in the following locations:

  • City of Maputo;
  • City of Matola;
  • Boane District;
  • City of Xai-Xai;
  • City of Inhambane;
  • City of Maxixe;
  • City of Chimoio;
  • City of Tete;
  • City of Beira;
  • City of Dondo;
  • Moamba Village;
  • Marracuene Village;
  • Manhiça Village;
  • Vilanculos Village.

(xv) Until 15 September 2021, in person classes in pre-schools (children with ages between 2 and 5 years old) are suspended nationwide;

(xvi) Museums, galleries and similar are allowed to be open, provided that its activities do not exceed 20% of the maximum capacity of the premises and comply with the protocols issued by the health authorities. The opening of theatres, casinos and cinemas is forbidden, as well as organization of events in cultural centres, exhibition halls and similar;

(xvii) Until 15 September 2021, all private social events are prohibited, with exception marriages, which may continue to be carried out in strict compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, being restricted to a maximum of 20 (twenty) participants;

(xviii) Beach attendance is allowed, for walks and bathing, provided that all the preventive measures are complied with (namely social distancing). Notwithstanding, bathing is not permitted;

(xix) Shopping malls, may be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Sundays, public holidays, and state granted days-off. The remaining commercial establishments and service providers are allowed to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and shall remain closed on Sundays, public holidays and state granted days-off. The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on Sundays;

(xx) Restaurants are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Bakeries, pastry shops and convenience stores are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.;

(xxi) There cannot be more than 4 persons per table in restaurants;

(xxii) A nationwide mandatory curfew is imposed until 15 September 2021, between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. The curfew referred to in the preceding paragraph does not cover:

  • workers whose professional activities do not allow interruption (due to public interest);
  • unavoidable displacements, namely to obtain healthcare services; and
  • other activities of a similar nature, for force majeure reasons or imperative needs, provided they are duly justified.

(xxiii) Places of worship are closed and ceremonies, conferences and religious services are prohibited unil 15 September 2021;

(xxiv) Meetings in public and private institutions are allowed, provided that the number of participants does not exceed 20% of the venues’ maximum capacity. Such events may not, in any case, gather more than 15 persons in closed venues, or 30 persons in open venues;

(xxv) All public and private institutions shall remain open to the public but are required to ensure the biosecurity conditions necessary for the protection of their staff and service;

(xxvi) Public institutions shall adopt exceptional working hours, being open from 8.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m. The exceptional working hours do not apply to public schools or any other public institution which activities are of public interest and do not allow the adoption;

(xxvii) Credit institutions and financial companies shall be open to the public and provide services;

(xxviii) Companies operating in the industry, agriculture, fisheries and construction sectors are allowed to continue to operate normally and must ensure that the necessary measures to prevent and contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are being enforced in order to protect its workers;

(xxix) Public transportation shall be limited to a maximum number of passengers;

(xxx) Public passenger transportation shall operate during usual operation hours, except in in the locations where the curfew duty is imposed;

(xxxi) The use of masks is mandatory to transporters and drivers entering the country in the context of cross-border trade and may be subject to screening actions, including temperature measurement and testing, when required/applicable. The provisions set under paragraphs (ii) to (iv) above shall also apply.

 

 

Am I under a duty to comply with the authorities' guidelines and public health protection measures?

Public health guidelines issued by authorities are not always binding. However, compliance with these guidelines is correlated with the fulfilment of duties of care, which in turn may protect and exonerate your company from claims based on non-contractual civil liability (or other reasons).

Companies should therefore be prepared to identify and respond quickly and appropriately to legislative or regulatory changes, as well as to  analyse instructions or guidelines provided.

Companies should also appropriately register the preventive measures taken spontaneously or in compliance with laws, guidelines or administrative regulations associated with COVID-19.

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.