Guatemalan Government Shortens Curfew and Launches Tiered COVID-19 Health Alert System

Location: Guatemala

Event: On July 27, the Guatemalan government fully implemented its tiered system of health alerts, which provides updated information on levels of health risk by locality throughout Guatemala, in an effort to prepare for the country’s gradual re-opening. Nevertheless, the Embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens in Guatemala continue to restrict their activities and movements to the maximum extent possible, and to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times when in public spaces. The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala has limited travel for its U.S. employees to Guatemala City and Antigua only. The Embassy continues to offer limited consular services on an emergency basis and is restricting on-site staffing to only essential personnel.

Reduced Curfew Hours:

Effective July 27, Guatemala’s national mandatory curfew hours have been shortened. The curfew now runs from 9:00 p.m. each evening through 4:00 a.m. the following day. These curfew hours will remain in effect through August 10 and may be extended at any time. Every individual in Guatemala – including U.S. citizens – is required to remain inside their domicile during curfew hours (with exceptions for health and security, restaurant delivery services, certain media and legal personnel in pursuit of their duties, and patients receiving urgent treatment for chronic conditions).

Previous restrictions on travel and activities during certain weekend hours have also been lifted.

Vehicle Mobility Restrictions Lifted:

Effective July 27, the Guatemalan government is no longer restricting personal vehicle use based on license plates. Vehicle traffic, of all kinds, is permitted from the hours of 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., every day of the week. Everyone is reminded to stay at home as much as possible.

The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to refer to the Ministry of Health’s (MSPAS) tiered threat level system (below) for information on movement and activity restrictions in their area.

Locality-Specific Tiered Health Alerts and Restrictions Implemented:

Effective immediately, Guatemalan authorities will impose COVID 19-related restrictions on movement and activities on a locality-by-locality basis based on the health alert level in each location. This system replaces Guatemala’s previous system of nation-wide restrictions on movement and activities. The overall threat ranking is as follows:

Type of Alert: Threat Level:
Green Normal
Yellow Moderate
Orange High
Red Maximum

The activities that will be permitted at each threat level are summarized in the chart below. Please note that this is a general synopsis only; specific details including social distancing parameters by activity can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website: https://mspas.gob.gt).

SECTOR RED ORANGE YELLOW GREEN
Urban Transportation Municipality and MSPAS authorization required. 50% max capacity. Municipality and MSPAS authorization required. 50% max capacity. Municipality and MSPAS authorization required. 75% max capacity. Municipality and MSPAS authorization required. 100% max capacity.
Inter-City Transportation Communications Ministry (MICIVI) and MSPAS authorization required. 50% max capacity. MICIVI and MSPAS authorization required. 50% max capacity. MICIVI and MSPAS authorization required. 75% max capacity. MICIVI and MSPAS authorization required. 100% max capacity.
Small Markets Social distancing mandatory. No entry for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing mandatory. No entry for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing mandatory. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Maintain social distance. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Supermarkets Social distancing, masks, required. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing, masks, required. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing, masks, required. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing, masks, required. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Shopping Centers In-person pickup of online purchases permitted. Group areas closed. Groups larger than 10 not allowed. Social distancing required. No entry for elderly or high-risk individuals. Parking lots at max 50% capacity. Group areas closed. Groups larger than 10 not allowed. Social distancing required. Limited special hours (one-hour max) for elderly or high-risk individuals. Parking lots at max 75% capacity. Group areas closed. Groups larger than 10 not allowed. Social distancing required. Limited special hours (one-hour max) for elderly or high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Limited special hours (one-hour max) for elderly or high-risk individuals.
Essential Industries Social distancing required. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Light Manufacturing Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Teleworking or special arrangements for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Open ventilation or filtered A/C.
Heavy Manufacturing Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10.
Agriculture Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10. Social distancing required. Avoid groups of more than 10.
Construction Determined by municipalities based on work type. Social distancing required. Determined by municipalities based on work type. Social distancing required. Determined by municipalities based on work type. Social distancing required. Determined by municipalities based on work type.
Restaurants Prioritize delivery and take-out. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Fewer than 10 per table. No elderly or high-risk individuals. Prioritize delivery and take-out. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Fewer than 10 per table. No elderly or high-risk individuals. Prioritize delivery and take-out. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Fewer than 10 per table. No elderly or high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Open ventilation, no A/C. Fewer than 10 per table. No elderly or high-risk individuals.
Hotels No access to social areas; meals by room service or open-air tables with appropriate social distancing only. No access to social areas; meals by room service or open-air tables with appropriate social distancing only. Social distancing in social areas; meals by room service or open-air tables with appropriate social distancing only. Social distancing in social areas; meals by room service or open-air tables with appropriate social distancing only.
Tourist Attractions Closed. Groups of fewer than 10 only. Groups of less than 15 only. Groups of less than 20 only.
Public Parks Closed, except for individual sports. No group or commercial activities. Social distancing required. No groups larger than 5. No commercial activities. Social distancing required. No groups larger than 10. No commercial activities. Social distancing required.
Recreation Centers, Bars, Parties Closed for all activities. Closed except for activities that do not require exit from vehicles. Closed except for activities that do not require exit from vehicles. Social distancing required.
Concerts and Events Closed for all activities. Closed except for activities that do not require exit from vehicles. Closed except for activities that do not require exit from vehicles. Social distancing required.
Swimming Pools Closed. Individual use or one-on-one instruction only. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Groups of fewer than 10 only. One-on-one instruction allowed. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Open. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Individual Athletic Activities Individual open-air and Olympic sports permitted with proper social distancing. Individual open-air and Olympic sports permitted with proper social distancing. Individual open-air and Olympic sports permitted with proper social distancing. Individual and group open air and Olympic sports permitted.
Entertainment Centers and Gyms Closed. Social distancing required. No group classes or activities. No entry for elderly or high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Classes or group activities for fewer than 10 people. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Classes or group activities for 10 or or more people with appropriate distancing. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Group Sports Training for professional leagues permitted, except in gyms. Sporting events can take place without live spectators. Training for professional leagues permitted, except in gyms. Sporting events can take place without live spectators. Sporting events permitted with live spectators, with appropriate social distancing. Sporting events permitted with live spectators, with appropriate social distancing.
Cinemas and Theaters Closed for all activities. Closed except for activities that do not require exit from vehicles. Social distancing required. No groups of more than 10 people. No entry for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Special hours for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Churches and Temples Special events such as weddings and baptisms permitted lasting 30 minutes or less with fewer than 10 individuals. Social distancing required. Services lasting no more than 30 minutes permitted, with 1-hour break between. Open doors and windows. Special services for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Services lasting no more than 30 minutes permitted, with 1-hour break between. Open doors and windows. Special services for elderly and high-risk individuals. Social distancing required. Services lasting no more than 30 minutes permitted, with 1-hour break between. Open doors and windows. Special services for elderly and high-risk individuals.
Religious Gatherings Large-scale religious gatherings prohibited. Large-scale religious gatherings prohibited. Social distancing required. Prayer meetings limited to fewer than 10 individuals. Social distancing required.
Offices and Workplaces (Public and Private) Capacity restricted to comply with social distancing requirements. Capacity restricted to comply with social distancing requirements. Capacity restricted to comply with social distancing requirements. Capacity restricted to comply with social distancing requirements.

The Embassy advises U.S. citizens in Guatemala to familiarize themselves with the threat level in their areas, and to keep abreast of any changes. Current health alerts and additional information can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website, via the following link: https://mspas.gob.gt.

Nationwide State of Calamity and Municipality-Specific State of Prevention

In a July 27 declaration, Guatemalan President Giammattei declared a 30-day extension of Guatemala’s State of Calamity. The Guatemalan government also declared a State of Prevention for 15 days in three municipalities (El Estor, Morales, and Livingston) of Izabal department and in two municipalities (Panzos and La Tinta) of Alta Verapaz department, due to the presence of active criminal organizations. The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid these areas for their own safety and security.

Guidance on Inter-Department Travel:

The suspension on inter-departmental travel has been lifted. The Government of Guatemala requests that individuals do NOT travel unless absolutely necessary. U.S. citizens should remain cautious about traveling to/from departments with continuing high rates of infection, and are advised that some municipalities maintain their own restrictions and checkpoints and may only permit local residents to enter their communities.

Mandatory Use of Masks in Public:

All individuals must wear masks in public spaces, including in grocery stores and on the street, to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Failure to comply with this requirement will result in fines of up to 150,000 Quetzales.

Closing of Borders:

The Guatemalan government is currently barring entry to most non-Guatemalans (with specific exceptions for accredited diplomatic personnel, health and security personnel, and exceptional cases as designated by the Guatemalan government) – by its land, sea, and air borders.  Airport operations and routine commercial flights out of Guatemala have been suspended.

Update on American Citizen Services:

As a reminder, due to COVID-19-related health and safety measures, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City has suspended all routine consular services for U.S. citizens as of Monday, June 22, and will continue to do so until further notice.

While this suspension is in effect, the Embassy will provide passport services on an emergency basis only. U.S. citizens with expired or soon-to-expire passports who have imminent travel plans to the United States may request an emergency appointment at the Embassy through the following email address: amcitsguatemala@state.gov. The Embassy urges U.S. citizens to communicate all requests and confirm all appointment times through this e-mail; for health and safety reasons, the Embassy may not be able to accommodate walk-in requests.

The Embassy continues to accept adult passport renewal applications by mail. For more information on this process, please click here.

Due to reduced operations at U.S. domestic facilities, U.S. citizens who have previously applied for routine passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) services may expect delays in receiving their documents. Applicants with documents in transit who have imminent travel plans to the United States may apply for emergency passports by scheduling an emergency appointment through the email address listed below. As a reminder, U.S. citizen children do not require a CRBA to qualify for an emergency passport.

Repatriation Flights: 

The United States Embassy in Guatemala continues to facilitate repatriation flights to the United States during the period in which international air travel is suspended due to COVID-19. At present, United Airlines has flights scheduled through August 14 to the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Passengers seeking tickets or information for these flights and passengers seeking assistance with inquiries related to any cancelled flights should reach out to the airlines directly at https://www.united.com or VentasGUA@united.com.

Guidance for American Citizens: 

The United States Embassy in Guatemala urges all U.S. citizens to comply with the restrictions imposed by the complete closure of the country, as well as all other restrictions and regulations outlined above.

As a reminder for U.S. citizens registered in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), your registration expires automatically based on the dates entered and you will not receive updates after that date. Update your account to show that you are still in Guatemala.  Follow these instructions to keep receiving messages from the STEP Program. From within your account settings, update to INDEFINITE to ensure that you continue receiving messages. If you have any trouble, please email CASTEP@state.gov.

Please contact AmcitsGuatemala@state.gov for any urgent inquiries.

Assistance: 

U.S. Embassy Guatemala City https://gt.usembassy.gov Tel. (502) 2326-4000 Amcitsguatemala@state.gov

State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Guatemala Country Information and Travel Advisory:

Page Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates

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