Update for U.S. Citizens regarding COVID-19 ongoing Restrictions by the Government of Guatemala

May 18, 2020

Location: Guatemala  

Event:   On Sunday, May 17th, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced the following updates to ongoing restrictions to movement and activities implemented to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please see below for the most current guidance:

Requirement to Remain in Residence from May 22nd Evening to May 25th Morning

The President announced that persons in Guatemala will be required to remain in their residences from Friday, May 22nd at 5:00 p.m. to Monday, May 25th at 5:00 a.m.  Please note that this timing updates and supersedes the timing indicated in President Giammattei’s May 14th announcement, which indicated that the requirement to remain at home would begin on the evening of Thursday, May 21st.   During the period of closure, all non-essential travel and public activities are prohibited.  This restriction does not apply to the distribution and delivery of food and medicine, to security-related activities or emergency medical treatment, or to certain legal and media personnel in pursuit of their duties.

Extended Curfew Hours from May 18th through May 21st

A mandatory curfew will remain in place from Monday, May 18th at 5:00 p.m. to Friday, May 22nd at 5:00 a.m.  The curfew runs from 5:00 p.m. each evening through 5:00 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).

Revised Business Operating Hours

According to President Giammattei, certain businesses will be permitted to operate from Monday, May 18th to Friday May 22nd according to the following schedule (please note that this timing updates and supersedes the guidance released in President Giammattei’s May 14 statement):

  • Supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores, small village shops, and outdoor markets are permitted to open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Restaurants are also permitted to operate during these hours, on a take-out basis only.
  • Financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, cooperatives, and agricultural and ranching businesses are permitted to operate from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Hotels will be permitted to provide services and amenities to their lodgers during the same hours.
  • Transportation of humanitarian goods will be permitted from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • The sale of alcohol is permitted from 5:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Consumption of alcohol in public areas is prohibited.
  • Shopping malls and large commercial centers are to remain closed for non-essential activities.
  • At-home food delivery is permitted at all hours, without restriction.

Impact on Air Travel

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala advises U.S. citizens that additional restrictions to travel and activities may have an impact on commercial air travel from Guatemala to the United States.  In light of these restrictions, United Airlines has amended its schedule of available flights from Guatemala to the United States, cancelling certain weekend flights that conflicted with the mandatory “stay at home” restrictions.  The Embassy understands that United has scheduled upcoming flights for May 19th, 21st, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th.  Passengers seeking tickets or information for these flights and passengers seeking assistance with inquiries related to cancelled flights, should reach out to the airline directly at https://www.united.com or VentasGUA@united.com.

Ongoing Restrictions

In addition to these updated restrictions, the following restrictions are still in place:

Inter-Departmental Travel: all travel between departments in Guatemala is prohibited.  The Embassy is not able to assist in procuring waivers to this prohibition on an individual basis.

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.  The U.S. Embassy continues to work with Guatemalan authorities to allow passengers manifested on outgoing commercial flights to travel to the airport in Guatemala City.  These passengers will receive letters requesting safe passage from their commercial carrier. 

Suspension of Public Transportation: public transportation within Guatemala is suspended.

Suspension of Public and Private Sector Labor Activities: public and private sector labor is suspended, with exceptions for certain essential government and health personnel, and for specific industries and utilities whose activities are essential to Guatemala’s security, food production, sanitation, or infrastructure.

Other Restricted Activities:  All beaches, lakes, rivers and other tourist sites in Guatemala remain closed.  Public religious gatherings and celebrations of any size are prohibited.  Visits to individuals in hospitals or prisons are prohibited.  Academic activities at all levels are suspended until further notice.

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

The United States Embassy in Guatemala urges all U.S. citizens to comply with all restrictions and regulations outlined above.  The Embassy will provide updated information about these and other COVID 19-related policies as it is made available.

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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