Message to U.S. Citizens: Ongoing Government of Guatemala Restrictions in Response to COVID-19

August 17, 2020

Location: Guatemala

Event: The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala wishes to inform U.S. citizens that the below COVID-related restrictions are currently in effect. 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.

Curfew Hours:

The Guatemalan government’s mandatory curfew remains in effect, running 9:00 p.m. each evening through 4:00 a.m. the following 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, restaurant delivery services, certain media and legal personnel in pursuit of their duties, and patients receiving urgent treatment for chronic conditions). 

Locality-Specific Tiered Health Alerts and Restrictions Implemented:

The Guatemalan government maintains a tiered system of health alerts, with COVID 19-related restrictions on movement and activities for a given area based on the health alert level in each location.

The overall threat ranking is as follows:

Type of Alert:      Threat Level:

Green                   Normal

Yellow                  Moderate

Orange                 High

Red                       Maximum

The list of threat rankings for each department and municipality is available on the Guatemalan government’s website at https://covid19.gob.gt/semaforo.html.

At the current time, all 17 municipalities in the department of Guatemala are in red status, the highest threat level.

The activities that will be permitted at each threat level are summarized on the Guatemalan government’s website at https://conred.gob.gt/site/documentos/covid-19/TablerodeAlertas.pdf.

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.

Restrictions on Public Transportation:

At the current time, only public transportation vehicles that have been authorized by their municipalities and the Ministry of Health, and that operate at 50 percent maximum occupancy, are permitted to operate.

For interdepartmental travel, only public transportation vehicles that have received authorization from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Communications are permitted to operate. 

Restrictions on Alcohol Sales:

Alcoholic products may not be sold from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Restrictions on In-Person Commercial Activities: 

Based on the tiered alert system, the following restrictions are in place in Guatemala City:

Open-air markets must maintain 1.5 meters of distance between patrons and ensure the proper use of masks. Individuals over the age of 60 are prohibited from shopping at open-air markets.

Supermarkets and enclosed stores must maintain four meters of distance between patrons and ensure the proper use of masks. Individuals over the age of 60 are prohibited from shopping at supermarkets and enclosed stores.

Malls and commercial centers may open to provide support to online shopping and parking lot delivery services. Restaurants, food courts and gathering spaces must remain closed. Commercial centers must arrange a special schedule to accommodate patrons over the age of 60.

Restaurants must prioritize delivery services. Restaurant employees must maintain a distance of four meters. Table service is permitted at maximum 25 percent capacity, with all windows and doors kept open. Groups of ten or larger are not permitted. High risk individuals and individuals over the age of 60 are not permitted to enter.

Gyms, concert venues, movie theaters, pools, bars and public parks must remain closed. 

Restrictions on Church Services:

Marriages and baptisms lasting less than 30 minutes may take place. Regular services and congregations are prohibited. 

Restrictions on Public Sector Activities:

All public and private businesses must maintain four meters of distance between employees at all time. Public sector offices will operate from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Private sector businesses are recommended to operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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 the end of August 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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