Colombian Government legal measures during COVID-19 for the Colombian Infrastructure Sector

15 April 2020
One of the most important decisions was the declaration of the Economic, Social and Ecological Emergency through Decree 417 of 2020, which allows the government to issue decrees with the force of a law.

Also, Decree 457 ordered preventive isolation from 0:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25th until, the recently extended date, April 26. This Decree limits the free movement of people and vehicles, and suspends domestic air transport. It also brings a list of 34 activities exceptions that can be carried out and indicates that cargo transport, storage and logistics for import and export cargo must be guaranteed.

 

Different rules have also been issued to guarantee the functioning of the Government through the use of technology. Presidential Directive 02 and specifically Decree 491 of 2020 adopts emergency measures to guarantee care and the provision of services by the public authorities. In order to avoid contact between people and promote social distancing, the authorities will ensure that they provide services in their charge through the modality of home office. The authorities will announce on their website the official communication and information channels through which they will provide their service. The activities that are strictly necessary to prevent, mitigate and attend the health emergency due to COVID-19, and those that guarantee the operation of the State may not suspend the provision of services in person.

 

Labor regulations have been issued as well. Decree 488 of 2020 establishes that workers who have presented a decrease in their income may withdraw their unemployment aid. For granting vacations employers may notify employee one day in advance, likewise the employee may also request the vacation one day in advance. Employers are prohibited to force employees to take unpaid leave.

 

In regard to the Colombian Energy Infrastructure and Logistics it was launched Decree 482 of March 26th 2020, that creates, during the emergency, the Center of Logistics and Transport, which was assigned to the Ministry of Transport with technical capacity, but without legal status, assets, administrative and financial autonomy.

 

It is integrated by the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and tourism, the Vice-Minister of Transport and a delegate of the President Iván Duque. This Center will provide measures related with the provision of public transportation services during the emergency (persons and cargo) and other exceptional matters related with permissions to transit in the country; it will ensure that the transportation of goods to be supplied is carried out with the least possible costs and rationalizing the resources of the Government and of those involved in providing the service.

 

The Logistics and Transportation Center may order the suspension of any infrastructure arranged for the provision of public transport service, the continuity of specific works will be allowed in compliance with the biosafety protocols indicated by the Ministry of Health.

 

In the APPs regime, it will be possible the extension of contracts for the 20% of the value of the initially agreed contract when there are defaults in the payments. In the case of private initiative projects, contracts may be extended beyond 20% of the initial term; public entities can unilaterally suspend the public transport infrastructure contracts under their responsibility.

 

The entities granting port concessions may extend the periods of extension of the concessions provided for in the contract, for the time they deem necessary; Private service ports are authorized to attend to cargo operations that guarantee the supply of basic goods to the populations within the area, regardless of the type of cargo authorized; Public service ports are authorized, regardless of the type of cargo authorized in the concession contract, to attend to cargo operations that have the purpose of guaranteeing the supply of basic goods.
 

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