Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Dominican Republic maintains state of emergency through at least June 1, but with revised curfew hours and relaxed business restrictions.

This alert affects Dominican Republic

This alert began 20 May 2020 11:34 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 1
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, increased security, possible freight delays

Summary
The Dominican Republic will maintain the state of emergency order with a revised curfew schedule through at least June 1 and start the gradual easing of some business restrictions from May 20. The restrictions are part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new curfew hours have been reduced to 1900-0500 Monday to Saturday, and 1700-0500 on Sundays. During curfew hours, only persons working in emergency, healthcare, and law enforcement services; the media; transportation of basic goods, or at seaports, airports, and utilities may leave their residences. Residents may leave their homes outside of curfew only to perform essential tasks.

While most nonessential businesses and education facilities will continue to remain closed, beginning May 20, business and movement restrictions will be relaxed as follows:

  • Micro- (10 employees) and small- (10-50 employees) businesses may have up to 50 percent of their workforce return; medium and large companies may have up to 25 percent of the workforce return; the public sector may operate with 50 percent of staff.
  • Barbershops, beauty salons, and medical offices may reopen by appointment only.
  • Santo Domingo metro, cable car, and bus services can resume operations 0600-1800 at 30 percent capacity. All persons on public transport must enforce social distancing protocols and wear a protective face mask.
  • An obligatory differentiated work schedule will be enforced for essential and previously authorized sectors to begin at 0700, 0800, and 0900.


The country's land, sea, and air borders have also been closed to passenger traffic until further notice. Cargo transport will not be affected. The government has indicated that airports and hotels will only begin to reopen from July 5. The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Increased police presence is likely in public places to help enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government of the Dominican Republic correspond with similar actions taken by governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The de-escalation of restrictions takes place within a 4-phased framework of reopening the economy. The final phase, where all business is expected to reopen with 100 percent of staff, is only anticipated on or around July 5; however, the closure of entertainment establishments is likely to be more protracted. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, restrictions may be reapplied. Conversely, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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