Considering the COVID-19 public health crisis and the increase in number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the Algerian government has gradually taken a series of general measures to contain the spread of the virus. These measures have been the subject of two main texts
- Executive Decree No. 20-69 of 21 March 2020 on measures to prevent and combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and whose purpose is to establish social distancing measures to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19
- Executive Decree No. 20-70 of 24 March 2020 establishing additional measures to prevent and combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and whose purpose is to set up citizen containment measures, restrictions on movement, supervision of trade and supply activities, rules of social distancing and the conditions for citizen mobilisation in the national effort to prevent and combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These measures are applicable throughout Algeria for a period running, at this point, until 19 April 2020. Any non-respect of these measures is likely to lead to administrative sanctions (immediate withdrawal of administrative authorisations for running business activities) and criminal sanctions. The latter have as yet not been expressly defined.
The measures put in place in this way are organised around the following restrictions, it being specified that any damage resulting from their application could be compensated under conditions yet to be defined.
These restrictions add to the closure of kindergartens, schools, universities and higher education facilities that had previously been put in place.
Citizen transport activities are suspended, regardless of conditions:
- Domestic passenger air travel;
- Road transport (urban and suburban road networks);
- Passenger rail transport;
- Guided transport (underground, tramway, funicular railway);
- Collective or individual transport by taxi.
This suspension does not, however, apply to the transport of staff paid for by the employer.
In addition, the Minister of Transport and the Walis are in charge of organising the transport of those people necessary for the continuity of the public service and the maintenance of vital activities in the public service (health, security, customs, fraud control, etc.), public institutions and administrations, and economic entities and financial services.
In addition, the government has begun to introduce home containment operations for the population, either partially (i.e. during time slots defined by the public authorities) or totally.
During containment periods, the circulation of people is forbidden, except with exceptional authorisation for the following reasons:
- supply of authorised businesses (food shops, pharmacy and businesses related to maintenance and hygiene);
- purchase of supplies close to the home
- urgent need for care;
- exercise of an authorised professional activity.
The procedures for issuing these authorisations are defined by commissions specially set up at wilaya level. These commissions may also adapt the measures and take any other additional measure in the light of the specific features of the wilaya, and changes in the situation.
To date, the following containment measures have been put in place
- total containment of the Blida wilaya;
- partial containment from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. of the Algiers, Oran, Bejaia, Sétif, Tizi-Ouzou, Tipaza, Tlemcen, Aïn Defla and Médéa wilayas;
- partial containment from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. of all the other wilayas in the country.
During the containment period, any meeting of over two people is forbidden.
In addition, a mandatory preventive measure consisting of a safety distance of at least 1 metre between two persons is introduced. This measure applies to all administrations and establishments open to the public and, as such, to all businesses and shops not affected by the obligation to close.
BUSINESS OPERATION RESTRICTIONS
Throughout Algeria, public houses, leisure, entertainment and show establishments and spaces, and restaurants (except for home delivery) are closed. No indication has yet been given as to what will happen to their employees.
Retail businesses are also closed, with the exception of businesses supplying the population with food, maintenance and hygiene products, as well as pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products. Such business must maintain their activities subject to the human resources management restrictions set out below.
More generally, an obligation to maintain business is imposed on establishments operating in the following sectors:
- establishments and sectors of activity providing basic public services, in particular public hygiene, water supply, electricity and gas supply, and telecommunications;
- post offices, bank branches and insurance agencies;
- private health establishments, including doctors' surgeries, laboratories and medical imaging centres;
- activities related to pharmaceuticals and medical devices;
- fuel and energy distribution establishments;
- activities of a vital nature, including wholesale markets
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT RESTRICTIONS
At least 50% of the staff of public institutions and administrations, as well as of all public and private economic operators, must be placed on exceptional paid leave. This measure applies to all sectors of activity, even those whose continued activity is made mandatory.
Staff considered as having priority for exceptional leave are pregnant women and women raising children (without this concept being defined), as well as persons suffering from chronic diseases and those with health issues.
Unless otherwise exceptionally authorised by the competent authorities, this obligation does not however apply to staff working in:
- the healthcare sector, regardless of the employer;
- the veterinary and phytosanitary sector;
- the Directorates General of national security, civil defence, customs, prisons and national communications
- hygiene, cleaning and surveillance.
This legal update is not intended to be and should not be construed as providing legal advice. The addressee is solely liable for any use of the information contained herein and the Law Firm shall not be held responsible for any damages, direct, indirect or otherwise, arising from the use of the information by the addressee.
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