Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Guatemala City, Guatemala – (April 9, 2020)

Location: Guatemala

Event:   On April 8 Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced the requirement that all individuals wear masks in public spaces, including in grocery stores and on the street, to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.  This regulation will come into effect on Monday, April 13, and, according to President Giammattei, will likely remain in place for several months.  Guatemalan authorities will levy fines against individuals who do not comply.   To support this new requirement, the Guatemalan government plans to distribute three million washable masks to the Guatemalan public.

These requirements will be in addition to other restrictions that President Giammattei has previously announced to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus (outlined below).  In an April 8 statement, the President said that if the number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in Guatemala rises to more than 20, the government might place additional restrictions.

U.S. citizens in Guatemala are reminded that the following restrictions on travel and activities are currently in place:

Curfew (Toque de queda)

A nation-wide curfew extends from 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. each day. Every individual in Guatemala — including U.S. citizens — is required to remain inside their domicile during curfew hours (with exceptions for health and security, and for restaurant delivery services).   The curfew will continue through Sunday, April 12, and the Guatemalan government may extend the deadline of the curfew at any time.  The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Guatemala that they are expected to obey the curfew, which is being enforced by Guatemalan law enforcement.  Violators of the curfew restrictions risk arrest.  More information on the curfew can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.

Closing of Borders (Cierre de fronteras)

The Guatemalan government is currently barring entry to most non-Guatemalans (with certain specific exceptions for health and security) – by its land, sea, and air borders.  The U.S. Embassy continues to work with the Guatemalan government to permit departure of certain flights for U.S. citizens and others from Guatemalan airspace to the United States. The Guatemalan government can adjust its policy on national border closings at any time. We refer you to the Guatemalan government for updated information on its national borders.

Prohibition on inter-department travel

Travel between departments within Guatemala is prohibited until Sunday, April 12th at 11:59 p.m.

Restrictions on alcohol

The sale, purchase, and public consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited until Monday, April 13 at 6:00 a.m.

Closure of Beaches, Lakes, Rivers, and Tourist Sites

As a social distancing measure during Holy Week, all beaches, lakes, rivers and other tourist sites in Guatemala are closed through Sunday, April 12th.  All tourist travel to these areas is prohibited.

Additional Department and Municipality-Level Restrictions

Beyond the national-level restrictions mentioned above, different municipalities within the country may adopt additional restrictive measures on travel and outdoor activities.  Please monitor local news reports to receive the latest information.

Guidance for American Citizens

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.

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