Legal effects and recomendations for the Health Emergency Declaration Agreement.
Issued by the General Health Council on March 30, 2020
I. Health Emergency Agreement and Extraordinary Actions Agreement.
On March 30, 2020, the General Health Council published the Agreement declaring a “health emergency due to a force majeure event” derived from the epidemic generated by SARS-CoV2 virus (COVID-19). “Health Emergency Declaration Agreement”.
On March 31, 2020, the Ministry of Health published the Agreement establishing “extraordinary actions” to address the health emergency generated by COVID-19. “Extraordinary Actions Agreement”.
As part of the extraordinary actions, it was ordered the immediate suspension of all non-essential activities from March 30 to April 30, 2020, in order to mitigate the spread and transmission of the virus in the community, reduce the disease burden, its complications, and death in the population residing in the national territory. Moreover, it was determined that only those activities deemed essential might continue; said activities are listed on the Extraordinary Actions Agreement.
Finally, it was determined that a series of mandatory sanitary practices must be complied with in the places or venues where there are activities defined as essential.
The Health Emergency Declaration Agreement and the Extraordinary Actions Agreement must be deemed as a declaration of sanitary contingency as per the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, the General Health Law, and the Federal Labor Law.
In this regard, the declaration of sanitary contingency binds the public, social, and private sectors to implement the measures established in the Extraordinary Actions Agreement and immediately suspend all non-essential activities.
Moreover, the private sector is authorized to suspend, collectively, the labor relationships, the wage payment, and it is authorized to cover only the compensation of one general minimum wage in force for each day of suspension, which may not exceed one month.
In our opinion, the Extraordinary Actions Agreement and the Health Emergency Declaration Agreement must be deemed as a health contingency declaration as per the Federal Labor Law. This is because the health authority issues the agreements, establish a health contingency declaration, and mandates labor suspension. This empowers the employers to suspend labor relationships and pay a day of the minimum wage for each day of the suspension, without exceeding a month.
The Health Emergency Declaration Agreement and the Extraordinary Actions Agreement must be deemed jointly as a declaration of sanitary contingency, which is formally issued by (i) General Health Council and the Ministry of Health; (ii) have followed the procedure established in the Constitution, the General Health Law, and its regulations to be issued; and (iii) the extraordinary actions bind the non-essential public, social, and private sectors to suspend activities.
Even if it we consider that the Health Emergency Declaration Agreement and the Extraordinary Actions Agreement are a declaration of sanitary contingency that suspend non-essential works or activities within the private sector, at the moment there is no precedent for courts in this regard. Because of this, our opinion and the federal government opinion are revisable and subject to court interpretation.
In this sense, as long as a court does not validate the collective suspension of the work relationships and the diminution of wage payments, being sensitive to the economic interests, we deem it wise for all non-essential activities to be suspended between March 30 to April 30, 2020, and to continue paying wages as normally.
If the contingency lasts longer than the period decreed by the health authority, it is recommended to evaluate the future steps.
 Federal Offical Gazette, March 30, 2020.
 Federal Official Gazette, March 31, 2020.
 Agreement establishing extraordinary actions, Article 1, Section II.
 Federal Labor Law, Articles 42 Bis, 427, Section VII, and 429, Section IV.
 Constitution, Articles 4; 73, Section XVI, item 1a. and 3a.; 3, Section XV; 4, Section II; 17, Section IX; 134, Section II and XIV; General Health Law, Articles 140 and 141; and Internal Regulation of the General Health Council (Reglamento Interior del Consejo de Salubridad General) Articles 1 and 9.