As we reported recently, the Mexican automotive industry and other sectors in Mexico have now been classified as "essential," with opening permitted by June 1st subject to satisfying certain "health and safety protocols" that had not been announced.  Today, those health and safety protocols (the "protocol") were communicated by the Mexican government, enabling companies to resume operations even earlier (prior to June 1) to the extent that they meet the protocol requirements and its registration. As expected, the protocol confirmed the implementation guidelines previously issued by the Social Security Institute, which you may find here, and added a section on "Planning and Management" as described further below. 

The implementation of this protocol is mandatory for the transportation manufacturing industry (which includes automotive and aerospace) and for the mining and constructions industries (the "Affected Industries"). Any other company whose activities are deemed essential should use this protocol except for the Planning and Management Section published today which only applies to the Affected Industries.

In addition, since the implementation of this protocol is based on a self-certification, the government has required that those companies in the Affected Industries register with the government and attest that their health and safety measures implemented are consistent with the protocol. Each facility of a company in one of the Affected Industries that intends to resume operations needs to register separately. 

The registration and attestation mentioned above will be made on-line at the webpage specifically created for such purpose and which you may find here. Upon registration and attestation, the Social Security Institute will issue a receipt acknowledgement and will provide a response within 72 hours that either (i) approves the health and safety measures implemented by the company; (ii) requests additional information regarding such implementation; or (iii) denies approval of the protocol's implementation measures. If the approval is denied, the corresponding company will be able to restart the approval process by providing its detailed Sanitary Safety Protocol which will need to be consistent with the protocol issued by the Mexican government. 

The Mexican government will continue exercising its inspection authority and will be able to assess penalties, including closure of the premises, if companies do not implement such measures consistently with the guidelines in the protocol and their self-certifications.

Finally, the section on "Planning and Management" added to the protocol includes providing a statement: (i) on the creation of a committee or appointment of a responsible person to supervise and follow up on COVID-19 related measures; (ii) that the company provides essential activities as previously defined by the Mexican government; (iii) acknowledging the stoplight system for the municipality where the facility is located (green light which means activities can be resumed without restrictions; yellow light – activities can be resumed subject to certain restrictions and red light- only essential activities may take place subject to the restrictions in place); (iv) that the sanitary measures implemented in the workplace are consistent with its activities and took into consideration vulnerable segments of the population; (v) that includes the existence of emergency telephone numbers including those instances that need to be contacted if sanitary emergencies occur; (vi) the fact that the Business Continuation Plan of the company includes sanitary contingency measures; (vii) the existence of a risk map of the workplace which includes those areas, workstations or activities with biological risks; (viii) the existence of a health and safety diagnosis for the workplace that considers biological agents that may modify the labor environmental conditions or the employees' health; (ix) the existence of a health and safety program for the workplace or a checklist of preventive and corrective health and safety actions in the workplace, both including sanitary contingencies; (x) the inclusion of actions in their specific civil protection program related to sanitary risks; (xi) the existence of a support group that addresses sanitary risks, if needed; and (xii) whether planning in the company contemplates sanitary emergencies as a threat under a SWOT analysis or in any other analytical tool used in this context. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.