Government to Reprimand CompaniesBy Cas Biekmann | Fri, 04/17/2020 - 17:32
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a health emergency by Mexico’s government, companies with non-essential activities were expected to close their doors. The measures, however, did not have strong enough consequences. This has now changed, as Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced the government would start fining companies refusing to close.
López-Gatell explained that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (STPS) carried out around 600 inspections in the first two weeks of April. It detected that 15 percent of companies engaged in non-essential activities refused to close. These companies can be found in different sectors such as automotive, aerospace, paper production, manufacturing equipment, tobacco production and general construction. To a lesser extent, the Ministry of Health reported that STPS detected trade for non-essential products such as department stores, footwear, home decoration and companies in the textile industry.
Although the companies refusing to close pose risks by luring people out of their homes and making workers stay on their premises, repercussions are imminent now following the government’s warning. López-Gatell pointed out that 18 percent of companies in Mexico are engaged in essential activities and would therefore be asked to continue their work. As for non-essential companies, 50 percent are closed now, with some having closed before government recommendations to switch to home office and protect workers. Seventeen percent closed after receiving a warrant from labor authorities and 15 percent decided not to close, despite having received a formal request from STPS.
Punishments include hefty fines and forced closing as well: "Did I say closure? Yes, including closing up the place. And the public ministry will also carry out a corresponding investigation, because here we are talking about damage to health that can cost lives," López-Gatell said.