Frequently Asked Questions2020-04-05T20:08:13+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus?2020-07-06T19:28:54+00:00

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, some of which can infect humans. The current Covid-19 outbreak consists of an unidentified strain of coronavirus.

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How do I know if I have symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19?2020-07-06T19:30:40+00:00

If you want to know if you have symptoms compatible with Coronavirus COVID-19, you can use the app created by the National Government for cell phones with Android or iOS operating systems, available through the following link: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/coronavirus/app

You can also reach the telephones listed on the following web page: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/coronavirus/telefonos

What is the “quarantine” (Social, Preventive and Compulsory Isolation) ordered by the Government?2020-08-07T19:50:47+00:00

Decree No. 297/2020 ordered a preventive and compulsory social isolation for all citizens residing in the country or who are temporarily in Argentina, from 20 March 2020 to 31 March 2020. This measure was extended through Decrees N° 325/2020, 355/2020, 408/2020, 459/2020, 493/2020, 520/2020, 576/2020 and 605/2020 until August 2, 2020. 

The social, preventive and mandatory isolation will remain in form, for people who reside in urban agglomerations that do not positively meet the following epidemiological and health parameters:

(a) Health system with sufficient and adequate capacity;

(b) Region not defined as “community-transmission” area; 

(c) The doubling time of confirmed cases of COVID-19 should not be less than fifteen days. 

At the moment, the areas that must continue to comply with the social isolation measures are: Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA), all the departments of the Province Jujuy and San Fernando department (Province of Chaco. In these places, the provincial authorities must continue to request authorization to the National Government to allow new exceptions.

However, people residing in the regions that positively comply with the parameters indicated above must comply with social distancing measures, until August 2, 2020. Only economic, industrial, commercial or service activities may be carried out there, as long as they have an operating protocol approved by the provincial health authority, and the use of indoor areas is restricted to a maximum of 50% of their capacity.

In order to ensure compliance with the measure, permanent  police controls are established on routes and public spaces.

People working on specific activities will be exempted from isolation and prohibition of transit.

Exceptions to the social isolation measures may only be made if the employer guarantees the transfer of the workers without the use of public transportation services, such as buses, trains and subways.

Likewise, brief recreational outings within a radius of 500 meters from the residence are authorized, with a maximum duration of one hour and during daylight hours, in some districts.

As from July 19, 2020, in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, certain activities will re-open according to Decree NO 265/2020, which contains a schedule of dates indicating when each of them may resume their operations.

Resolution 3/2020 approved the proceeding to authorize an exceptional transfer of persons who are serving their social, preventive and obligatory isolation in a domicile different from their habitual residence in the Argentine Republic, and therefore, wish to return to their homes by private vehicles. The persons who wish to return must register in the registry enabled by the jurisdiction where they habitually reside and wait for the approval and corresponding extension of the “Certificate for the Return to the Habitual Domicile”, which will be valid for 96 hours from its issuance.

Who can enter the Argentine Republic?2020-08-07T19:51:57+00:00

At present, entrance to the Argentine Republic through airports, ports, border centers and international crossings or any other access point is strictly forbidden. The prohibition extends to: (a) foreigners not residing in the country; (b) people residing in the country; and (c) Argentines residing abroad. This prohibition will be in force until August 2, 2020 (Decrees No. 274/2020, 313/2020, 331/2020, 365/2020,409/2020, 493/2020, 520/2020, 576/2020 and 605/2020).

However, people included in the exceptions established by Section 2 of Decree No. 274/2020 and those who were in transit to Argentina when the Decree came into force may enter the country within 48 hours. The entry must be verifiable.

Likewise, entering the country is possible in the following cases: 

  • Foreigners who entered the country after March 18, 2020 with the sole purpose of continuing their trip to another country;
  • People who transfer goods for international trade operations of freight transport, also if it is done by air, land, sea, river or lake;
  • Carriers and crew members of ships and aircrafts;
  • People affected to flights and sanitary transfer operations.

The exceptions contemplated in the last three cases will be applied as long as the people do not present symptoms and comply with the recommendations and instructions provided by the national health authority, both inside and outside the Argentine territory.

Likewise, and according to Decree No. 331/2020, the National Government will implement the “Gradual, Planned and Safe Reopening Plan” by means of which the borders will be gradually and safely reopened, as of April 1, 2020.  Within this framework, the National Migration Agency will enable 8 land border crossings between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., allowing the entry of up to 500 people per day and per crossing.

Passengers entering by land have strict authorization to move only to their declared homes to perform the mandatory social isolation and are considered in transit from the border to where they indicated.

The border crossings authorized for vehicles and buses are:

  • Paso de los Libres/Uruguayana (República Federativa de Brasil),
  • Gualeguaychú/Fray Bentos (República Oriental del Uruguay),
  • Salvador Mazza/ Yacuiba (Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia);
  • Cristo Redentor, Paso Integración Austral y San Sebastián (República de Chile)
  • Clorinda/ Puerto José Falcón y Posadas Encarnación, este último sólo tránsito vecinal fronterizo, con la República del Paraguay.
I am an Argentine resident and cannot return to the country because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Does the government provide me with any kind of assistance?2020-07-06T19:40:47+00:00

Resolution 62/2020 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship establishes the creation of the “Assistance Program for Argentines Abroad during of the Coronavirus Pandemic”, which aims to provide assistance to Argentine residents who are unable to enter the national territory because of the provisions of Section 1 of the Decree No. 313/2020. The assistance will be provided through the Argentine representations abroad and until they can return to the Argentine Republic.

By virtue of this Resolution, the person in charge of each Argentine representation abroad may adopt relevant measures to ensure that the people mentioned in Section 1 of this regulation access to: (a) accommodation; (b) food; (c) health care; and (d) any other basic need.

The assistance of this programme will only be provided to those who are in a situation of vulnerability that does not allow them to resolve the issue by their own means.

If you need to access to the “Assistance Program for Argentines Abroad in the Framework of the Coronavirus Pandemic”, you must enter the website of the Consulate closest to the place where you are located and complete the form named “Coronavirus Assistance COVID-19”. You can see and access to the list of the Embassy or Consulate that corresponds to your respective application form at the following link: https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/es/coronavirus.

How can I use my bank accounts, credit and debit cards from abroad during quarantine?2020-07-06T19:47:22+00:00

On March 28th, 2020, the Argentine Central Bank established through Communication “A” 6948 that Argentine residents who are still abroad may carry out the following operations anywhere around the world:

  • Consume goods and services with the funds available in the customer’s local accounts in foreign currency or in Argentine Pesos using their debit card. The decision of whether this consumption is debited from the savings account in Argentine Pesos, or from an account in foreign currency, depends on each customer, who can make this decision through the bank’s website or at the time of purchase.
  • Withdraw foreign currency, in cash, for up to the funds available in their local foreign currency accounts using their debit card. The available funds may be increased by making exchange purchases through the customer’s home banking service within the provided regulatory limits (USD 200 per month per person), foreign currency transfers from their own accounts or third party accounts, etc.
  • Withdraw foreign currency, in cash, in their local accounts in Argentine Pesos by using their debit card. A withdrawal with debit card from the account in Argentine Pesos, is a foreign currency purchase for the purpose of calculating the limit of USD 200 per month and per person.
  • Consume goods and services with local credit and/or purchase cards up to the limit granted by the respective card issuer.
  • Withdraw cash by local credit and/or purchase cards up to the maximum amount of USD 200 in non-neighbouring countries and USD 50 in neighbouring countries. This amount represents an advance from the respective card issuer and is subject to the corresponding financial costs. This limit is per operation, being the person able to make as many operations as the maximum amount of cash advances sets for the credit and/or purchase cards allows.
  • Receive, in remittance accounts abroad, funds transferred by other residents from local accounts in foreign currency. Originators may transfer up to USD 500 per calendar month. This option must be offered to the customers by their financial entities through their electronic channels. Besides from the BCRA provisions, these operations may be subject to operational restrictions established by international payment systems or by the regulations of the country where the operation is being carried out.
Which activities and services were declared essential and therefore excluded from quarantine and which activities, although they are not essential, have been exempted from the mandatory isolation?2020-08-11T18:58:59+00:00

The following activities have been declared essentials and therefore, are exempted from isolation and transit prohibitions:

  1. Health workers, security forces, Armed Forces, migratory activity, national meteorological service, firefighters and air traffic control employees.
  2. Government senior authorities and employees called to ensure essential activities required by the respective authorities.
  3. Court employees on duty.
  4. Foreign diplomatic and consular staff and international organizations staff accredited before the Argentine government, Red Cross and White Helmets.
  5. People who must assist others with disabilities; family members who need assistance; elderly people; children and teenagers.
  6. People who have to deal with a force majeure event.
  7. People affected to the organization of funeral, burial and cremation services. In this context, activities involving gatherings of people are not authorized.
  8. People affected to school and community canteens.
  9. Staff working in audiovisual, radio and graphic communication services.
  10. Employees affected to public works.
  11. Wholesale, retail supermarkets and local retailers. Pharmacies. Hardware stores. Vets. Provision of domestic gas tanks (garrafas).
  12. Food industries, its productive chain and supplies; personal hygiene and cleaning services; health equipment, medicines, vaccines and other sanitary supplies.
  13. Activities linked to agribusiness and fishing production, distribution and marketing.
  14. Telecommunications, fixed and mobile internet and digital service activities.
  15. Foreign trade activities that cannot be postponed.
  16. Collection, transport and treatment of solid urban, hazardous and pathogenic waste.
  17. Maintenance of basic services (water, electricity, gas, communications, etc.) and emergency assistance.
  18. Public transport, goods transport, oil, fuel and LPG.
  19. Home delivery of food, medicines, hygiene, cleaning products and other necessities.
  20. Laundry, postal and packaging services. Surveillance, cleaning and guard essential services.
  21. Minimum guards to ensure the oil & gas operation and maintenance, treatment and/or refining plants, and transport and distribution of electrical energy, liquid fuels, oil and gas, fuel stations and electrical energy generators.
  22. S.E. Casa de Moneda, ATM services, cash transport and all those essential activities that the Argentine Central Bank may perform to ensure the operation of the payment system.
  23. Hotels affected to health emergency services.
  24. Operation of nuclear power plants.
  25. Airports operation. Garage and parking operations, provided with the minimum necessary staff.
  26. Maintenance of environment protection activities.
  27. Tanneries, with minimum necessary staff, for the reception of leather originated from the refrigeration activity.
  28. Restaurants, pre-cooked meals and fast food restaurants through delivery services.
  29. Ministers, from different religions, in order to provide spiritual assistance services.
  30. Registration, identification and documentation of persons.
  31. Professional home care services for people with disabilities and those with autism spectrum disorders. Notarial activity limited exclusively to permitting the performance of essential activities and services.Establishments for victims of gender-based violence attention
  32. National and provincial registry activity, with an appointment system and minimum guards. Scheduled medical and dental care of preventive nature and monitoring of chronic diseases, with previous appointment system. Medical laboratories and imaging centers, with pre-appointments systems.Optics, with pre-appointment system (applicable in all Argentine Provinces and City of Buenos Aires, except for Santiago del Estero and Tucuman).
  33. ANSES workers
  34. Transfer of children and teenagers.

Activities exempted from social isolation, preventive and obligatory insofar as the employer guarantees the transfer of workers without the use of the public passenger transport service:

  1. Industries that are carried out under continuous processes. Production and distribution of biofuels. (Administrative Decision 429/2020)
  2. Sale of building supplies and materials provided by corralones. Activities related to production, distribution and marketing of forestry and mining. Tanneries, sawmills and wood product factories, mattress factories and road and agricultural machinery factories. Exploration, prospecting, production, processing and marketing of nuclear fuel. Essential maintenance and fumigation services. (Administrative Decision 450/2020)
  3. Workshops for the maintenance and repair of automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles, exclusively for public transport, vehicles of the security forces and armed forces, vehicles affected by health services or personnel authorised to drive, in accordance with current regulations. Sale of spare parts, parts and pieces for cars, motorcycles and bicycles only in the form of door-to-door delivery. Manufacture of tyres; sale and repair of the same exclusively for public transport, vehicles of the security forces and armed forces, vehicles affected by health services or personnel with authorisation to drive, in accordance with the regulations in force. Sale of bookstore articles and computer supplies, exclusively under the home delivery modality. (Administrative Decision 490/2020)
  4. Economic activity developed in Industrial Parks.
  5. Production for export, with previous authorization granted by the Ministry of Productive Development. Those exporting industries that require inputs produced by others whose productive unit is located in places reached by article 11, must request the operation of such suppliers to the Ministry of Productive Development. Sale of ready-made goods from retail stores through e-commerce platforms; telephone sales and other mechanisms that do not require personal contact with customers and only through home delivery. Experts and claims adjusters from insurance companies to enable the settlement and payment of claims reported to beneficiaries. Under no circumstances may the service be provided to the public and all procedures must be carried out virtually, including the corresponding payments. (Administrative Decision 524/2020)
  6. Personnel affected by demolition and excavation activity due to emergencies. (Administrative Decision 763/2020)
  7. Sports practice developed by athletes who have qualified for the XXXII Olympic Games. (Administrative Decision 1056/2020).
  8. Activity of mutual and credit cooperatives through minimum service guards, for the sole purpose of guaranteeing the operation of the credit and/or payment system.
Which are the measures or obligations that employers must decide or comply with respect to hygiene and health matters at work?2020-06-23T21:11:48+00:00

The Ministry of Labour issued Provision 5/2020 and its Annexes 1, 2, 3, and 4 in which a detailed description of the recommendations for employees working in activities exempted from compulsory isolation is provided. The recommendations  include, among others, customer service in boxes, safety equipment, minimum distance between employees and other people, cleaning of workplaces and canteens, use and cleaning of work items such as computers, vehicles, tools in general, etc.

Annex 1 provides special recommendations for employers and workers.

Annex 2 provides recommendations for travel to and from work.

Annex 3 deals with the elements of personal protection.

Annex 4 explains the correct fitting and removal of respiratory protectors (chinstraps)

Likewise, through Provision 2/2020, the form for reporting Work-related Accidents to the National Registry of Work-related Accidents (R.E.N.A.L.) is modified in order to allow the identification of Work-related Accidents occurring under the remote work or teleworking modality.

On April 6, 2020, the Ministry of Labor of the Province of Buenos Aires published Resolution 135, which establishes that employers must prepare, implement and strictly comply, within two business days, a Protocol of Hygiene and Health at Work.

The aforementioned Protocol must comply with the regulations of the health emergency and in particular with respect to the indications of interpersonal distancing, of washing hands with soap and water on a frequent basis, of the provision and use of gel alcohol for the hands when handling things due to work, the ventilation of the place and the disinfection of objects and tools used frequently. If the employer fails to comply with the provisions set forth, such conduct shall be considered a very serious offense, which will enable the authorities to take measures for the immediate application in the event of serious and/or imminent danger to the health, hygiene or safety of the employee, including the suspension of the activities.

The measures taken by the authorities shall not affect in any way the right of employees to full and regular collection of remuneration, nor to any other right or guarantee that protects them and that derives from the labor relationship.

Are there any obligations or precautions employers should take regarding health and safety?2020-07-06T21:05:31+00:00

The Ministry of Labour issued Provision No. 5/2020 and its Annexes 1, 2, 3, and 4 in which it provides a detailed description of recommendations for employees working in activities exempted from compulsory isolation. The recommendations  include, among others, providing customer service in boxes, the use of safety equipment, maintaining minimum distance between employees and other people, cleaning workplaces and canteens, using and cleaning of work items such as computers, vehicles, tools in general, etc.

Annex 1 provides special recommendations for employers and workers 

Annex 2 provides recommendations for travel to and from work.

Annex 3 details personal protection elements.

Annex 4 explains the correct wearing and removal of respiratory protectors (masks)

By means of Provision No. 2/2020, the form for reporting work-related accidents to the National Registry of Work-related Accidents (R.E.N.A.L.) is modified in order to allow the identification of work-related accidents occurring under remote work or teleworking modality.

On April 6, 2020, the Ministry of Labor of the Province of Buenos Aires published Resolution No. 135, which establishes that employers must prepare, implement and strictly comply, within two business days, a Protocol of Hygiene and Health at Work.

The aforementioned Protocol must comply with all health emergency regulations and in particular with the indications of interpersonal distancing, frequent hand washing with soap and water, provision and use of gel alcohol for hands when handling things during work, ventilation of closed places and disinfection of frequently used objects and tools. If the employer fails to comply with the mentioned provisions, such infringement shall be considered a very serious offense, which entitles authorities to order the adoption of immediate measures in the event of serious and/or imminent danger to the health, hygiene or safety of employees, including the suspension of the activities.

The measures taken by the authorities shall not affect in any way the right of employees to full and regular payment of remuneration, nor to any other right or guarantee protecting them arising from the employment relationship.

How can I enter or leave the City of Buenos Aires?2020-08-11T19:01:21+00:00

The only authorized access to the City of Buenos Aires are: Alsina; Roca Avenue junction; Eva Perón Av. Juction; junction Av. Rivadavia; junction Av. San Martín; junction Av. Cabildo;  Parque Avellaneda toll; Illia toll; Dellepiane toll, Ricardo Balbín highway; Pueyrredón Nuevo bridge; La Noria bridge; junction Av. 27 de Febrero; Av. Gral Paz from 27 de Febrero street; Acceso Oeste highway; Ricchieri highway; Acceso Norte highway; Puente Avellaneda; Lugones y Sarmiento; 25 de Mayo highway(Liniers).

Can I renew my National ID during quarantine?2020-07-06T22:03:12+00:00

By means of Disposition No. 195/20, the Direction of the National Registry of People exceptionally enabled the remote request and issuance of the virtual credential of the National ID; or a virtual copy of the National ID already issued that can be displayed in smartphones. 

Such credential will be valid for up to thirty calendar days after the end of the quarentine period, and may only be requested by those citizens of legal age who can provide evidence of an urgent and non-delayable matter or force majeure, and who are included in the following scenarios: a) loss, theft or illegibility of a National ID Card already issued; b) a new National ID Card previously processed in person by the citizen which was not received.

The virtual credential must be requested by e-mail to the address consultas@renaper.gob.ar, stating full name and surname, National ID number and the reason evidencing such urgency.

Each applicant will be informed of the acceptance or refusal of their request via e-mail and, if accepted, will receive the corresponding activation code and download instructions.

In addition, the expiration date of the National IDs was extended for a period of up to thirty calendar days after the end of quarantine, as set forth by Decree No. 297 dated March 19, 2020 or any regulation that may replace or extend it in the future, establishing that such IDs will be deemed valid during the aforementioned term.

In the case of extension of the expiration of the National IDs granted to foreigners who hold the status of “temporary residents”, the validity term of such documentation is limited to the provisions of the National Migrations Agency.

Can I use public transportation during quarantine?2020-08-11T19:03:17+00:00

The use of public transport within the city of Buenos Aires is limited to workers providing services in essential activities . When doing so, the following must be taken into consideration:

  • Buses: Regular routes. As of April 13, buses run on their usual schedules. All passengers must wear face masks. No standing passengers allowed (Ministry of Transport Resolution No. 64/2020). 
  • Trains: As of April 13, all train lines run on their usual schedules. All passengers must wear face masks. OSubways: All lines are operational. As of April 13, all lines run on their usual schedules. All passengers must wear face masks. Trains only stop at connection stations and those near health centers. Taxis and rental cars (remises): Normal operation. No passengers allowed in the front seat next to the driver. 
  • Tolls: Although they were suspended, Resolution No. 276/2020 ordered their resumption as of May 19, 2020. Notwithstanding, Resolution No. 321/2020 suspended the collection of certain tolls from health and security forces as long as quarantine lasts.
Is it mandatory to wear a face mask or surgical mask?2020-08-11T19:03:51+00:00

The use of face masks is mandatory in the City of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Chubut, Cordoba, Corrientes, Formosa, Jujuy, La Rioja, Mendoza, Misiones, Neuquén, Río Negro, Salta, San Juan, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero y Tucumán; and for people travelling by car, passenger transport services  or rail under national jurisdiction.

Its use is not mandatory in the provinces of Chaco (except in Resistencia and Roque Sáenz Peña), Chubut (except in Rawson, Trelew, Comodoro Rivadavia, El Hoyo and Dolovan), Entre Ríos (except in Paraná, Concordia, Libertador San Martín, Villaguay, Victoria, Oro Verde, Crespo, Federación, Valle María, San José and Gualeguay), Formosa (except for people entering that province), La Pampa, San Luis (except in City of San Luis, Tilisarao and Villa Mercedes), Santa Cruz (except in Río Gallegos, Pico Truncado and El Calafate) and in Tierra del Fuego (except in Ushuaia). 

However, in areas where there is no community circulation of the coronavirus, the National Government made the use of masks in shared spaces compulsory.

I am required to go to work if only I can take care of my child?2020-07-07T21:22:04+00:00

In accordance with the guidelines established by Resolution No. 207/202 of the Ministry of Labor, the absence of a parent or responsible adult whose presence at home is essential for the care of the child or teenager will be deemed justified. In this case, it is a leave of absence without pay for the parent in charge, who will be excused from work for the aforementioned reasons.

Can the children of separated or divorced parents move to the home of the non-cohabiting parent?2020-07-07T21:24:31+00:00

Administrative Decision No. 703/2020 allows the transfer of children and teenagers to the home of the other parent or legal guardian, provided that this is in the best interests of the child or teenager. In the case of a single-parent family, the parent may transfer the child or teenager to the home of an emotional reference, provided that this is in the best interest of the child or teenager.

The transfer may take place once a week, bearing the sworn statement approved by Resolution No. 132/2020 of the Ministry of Social Development.

Can people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other disabilities go out on the street with a companion?2020-07-07T21:25:48+00:00

Yes, as of April 11, 2020, people with disabilities and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders are authorized to go on short outings in their neighbourhood with a family member or companion. In such cases, the people assisted and their companion must carry their respective ID and the Single Certificate of Disability or medical prescription indicating diagnosis and need for outings, which may be provided in digital form.

A schedule of outings has been stipulated, which states people with disabilities may go on short outings as follows:

  • On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, those people with disabilities whose last ID number is 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, those people with disabilities whose last ID number is 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0.

People with disabilities included in any of the following circumstances are exempt from said circulation permit:

  • over sixty years of age;
  • chronic respiratory diseases, obstructive pulmonary disease, congenital emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis and moderate or severe asthma;
  • heart disease, heart failure, coronary disease, valve disease and congenital heart disease;
  • immune deficiencies;
  • diabetes, chronic renal failure on dialysis or expect to enter dialysis within the next six months; or
  • pregnant.
What should I do to operate if my business is within the activities and services declared essential and excluded from quarantine?2020-08-11T19:07:51+00:00

In the areas in which the mandatory isolation is still in force, citizens may only move from their residences by holding the  “Certificado Único Habilitante para Circular”. The CUHC can only be processed by people who fall under the list of activities declared as essential or exempted from isolation, or by the ones who need a special authorization to carry out an urgent procedure, to assist to a medical treatment, to attend a relative, etc.) Also, in accordance with Administrative Decision No. 446/2020, the Ministry of Transport issued Resolution No. 83/2020 establishing the minimum requirements that must be met by the certificates that must be established by the competent local authorities. The certificates must include, at least, the following fields of information:

(a) Identification and isologotype of the agency issuing the certificate.

(b) Issuance date and place;

(c) Period of validity of the authorization [if applicable];

(d) Identification of the exception under Article e) of the Decree No. 297/2020 or any other future regulation that may provide for a new exception;

e) Name and surname of the person who authorizes, (and, if applicable, name and CUIT number of the company or related company), legal capacity, address, telephone number and his or her ID number and/or CUIT/CUIL number if the certificate is not a self-certification;

f) Name and surname of the authorized person and his ID and/or CUIT/CUIL number;

g) Details of the vehicle (if necessary);

(h) Point of departure and destination (if necessary);

(i) Time of authorization (if necessary);

(j) Other documents that the authorized person may need to prove his/her status (if necessary); 

(k) Holographic or electronic signature(s) of the person(s) identified in the certificate

Companies should also consider the following: 

  • In addition, in accordance with Resolution No. 84/2020 of the Ministry of Transport, the Carriers working in the following activities must complete and print a specific form to be submitted to the authorities if requested . This obligation affects activities related to: (i) agriculture and fishing production, distribution and commercialization; (ii) activities related to foreign trade that cannot be postponed; (iii) collection, transport and treatment of solid urban, dangerous and pathogenic waste; (iv) public passenger transport, transport of goods, oil, fuels and LPG and (v) postal and parcel distribution services; and (vi) production and distribution of biofuels.
  • Industries carrying out continuous processes whose interruption may imply a structural damage to production lines and/or machinery, must request an authorization from the Secretariat of Industry, Knowledge Economy and External Trade Management in order not to discontinue the production.
  • In addition, by means of Notice No. 16102/2020 dated March 27, 2020, the Argentine Ministry of Transport informed port authorities that on March 25, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued Notice No. NO-18729360, in connection with certain directives to extend and strengthen contingency plans in Argentine international ports in the context of the current pandemic.

For more information, please check the official list of permits here.

Which employees are considered at risk and are exempt from attending the workspace?2020-07-07T21:35:06+00:00

People considered at increased risk include:

  • Peolple +60 years, except those considered “essential personnel for the proper functioning of the workspace”. 
  • Pregnant employees.
  • Employees with chronic respiratory illnesses: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis and moderate or severe asthma.
  • Employees with heart diseases: Cardiac insufficiency, coronary heart disease, valve diseases and congenital heart disorders.
  • Employees with immunodeficiency.
  • Diabetic employees, with chronic renal failure with ongoing dialysis treatment or with current expectations of being treated with dialysis in the coming months.

However, labor regulations issued in the context of Covid-19 do not specify which employees are considered to be “at risk”.

In principle, all employees are exempted to attend their workplaces and must comply with quarantine ordered by Decree No. 297/2020. “Essential workers” affected to essential activities expressly mentioned by Section 6 of Decree No. 297/2020 and other complementary regulations are exempted from quarantine. (See the answer to the question above).

Can I lay off employees during quarantine?2020-07-07T21:39:44+00:00

Decree No. 329/2020 was published on March 31th 2020, which establishes the following:

  • Prohibition of dismissal without a fair cause and based on reduction or lack of work or force majeure for a 120 days term.
  • Prohibition of suspensions as a result of force majeure, lack or reduction of work for a 120 days term. 
  • Dismissals and suspensions ordered in violation of the aforementioned will not be deemed as valid, maintaining current labour relations with its present conditions.
  • Exempts the prohibition of suspensions implemented under the terms of Section 223 bis of Employment Contract Act (“LCT”).

Originally the prohibition was set for a term of 60 calendar days, which expired on May 30, 2020 and was extended for 60 more days (Decree No. 487/2020).

Even though Decree No. 329/2020 does not indicate explicitly, dismissals with fair cause and the termination of employment by mutual agreement, as well as employee resignation, are excluded.

Also, the right to double the compensation in case of dismissal without just cause is still in force . This was decided by Decree No. 34/2019 and extended by Decree No. 528/2020, until December 7, 2020.

What alternative does an employer have to employees who are unable to provide services?2020-07-07T21:41:34+00:00

Decree No. 329/2020 allows for the execution of collective or individual suspensions agreements with the employees, establishing the payment of a “non-remunerative” assignment in terms of the Section 223 bis of the Employment Contract Act. This implies that no contributions should be made to the social security system for such employees, with the exception of contributions to the national health insurance system and to the National Institute of Social Services for Retirees and Pensioners.It is also possible to agree collectively or individually the reduction of working hours.

In accordance with Decree No. 529/2020, the suspensions can be extended until the end of quarantine. This is a public order provision and therefore cannot be changed by the parties.

What is the government emergency assistance provided to labor and production?2020-07-07T21:49:22+00:00

Decree No. 332/2020 (amended by Decree No. 347/2020 and 376/2020) established the Emergency Assistance Program for Labour and Production (the “Program”).

The beneficiaries of the program are those who: (1) carry out economic activities in critically affected geographic areas; (2) have a relevant number of employees infected by COVID-19 or in compulsory quarantine or with a work exemption for being in a risk group or have family care obligations related to the COVID-19; and (3) who have suffered a substantial reduction of sales after March 20, 2020. 

In accordance with the amendments introduced by Decree No. 376/2020, the Program grants one or more benefits, such as the postponement or reduction of up to ninety-five percent (95%) of the payment of employer contributions to the Argentine Integrated Social Security System, a “Complementary Salary” paid by the National Government to employees working in the private sector, zero-rate credit for persons adhering to the Simplified System for Small Taxpayers and for self-employed workers, and a comprehensive system of unemployment benefits, which consists of an economic benefit for unemployment.

In general terms, the Program will consist of:

a) Postponement or reduction of up to ninety-five percent (95%) of the payment of employer social security contributions. The reduction benefit will be established by the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers. The amendment repeals the provisions of Decree No. 332/2020 which required employers with more than 60 employees the promotion of the Company Crisis Preventive Procedure set forth in Act No. 24,013.

b. Compensatory Salary Allowance: Decree No. 376/2020 provides that the complementary salary allowance shall be equivalent to 50% of the employee’s net February 2020 salary, and may not be less than a sum equivalent to one minimum, vital and mobile salary (AR$ 16,875), nor exceed two minimum, vital and mobile salaries (AR$ 33,750‬), or the total net salary for that month, and also establishes that it shall be considered on account of the payment of the salaries or the monetary allowance provided for in Section 223 bis of the Employment Contract Act. This complementary allowance applies to all employees and not exclusively to those covered by a collective bargaining agreement, as established by Decree No. 332/2020. Administrative Decision No. 887/2020 established that employees whose gross remuneration accrued in the month of March 2020 exceeds the amount of pesos two hundred and fifty thousand (AR$ 250,000) are not included.

c. Zero-Rate Credit for people adhering to the Simplified Regime for Small Taxpayer and for self-employed workers: the loan is subject to the conditions established by the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers and the Central Bank. The loan will will be subsidized at 100% of the total financing cost. It will consist of financing to be credited to the beneficiary’s credit card, for an amount that may not exceed one fourth of the upper limit of gross income established in each category of the Simplified System for Small Taxpayers, with a maximum limit of $150,000, which will be disbursed in 3 equal and consecutive monthly installments.

d. Allocations for unemployed people: It raises, during the period established by the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, the amounts of unemployment allocations to a minimum of six thousand pesos ($ 6,000) and a maximum of ten thousand pesos ($ 10,000) and delegates to the Ministry of Labor the power to modify the operation of the Integral System of Unemployment Benefits.

It also states that for activities, companies and self-employed workers still affected by the social distancing measures, even when the quarentine has ended, the benefits may be extended up to and including the month of October 2020.

Likewise, and within the framework of the “Programa Trabajo Autogestionado”, Resolution No. 144/2020 issued by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security establishes an economic assistance for self-managed productive units who suspended their productive activity or decreased their economic income level as a result of quarantine. Both those productive units that participated or are participating in the Program and those that do not register prior participation will be able to access the assistance.

At the same time, Resolution No. 262/2020 of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports created the Assistance Program for Tourist Providers (APTUR) intended to provide assistance to citizens registered to the Simplified Regime for Small Taxpayers and self-employed workers who carry out activities related to the tourism industry.

By Administrative Decision No. 1133/2020, published on 27 June 2020, it was decided to extend the benefits of the Emergency Assistance Program for Labour and Production relating to the Supplementary Salary and the deferment and reduction of the payment of employer’s contributions in respect of salaries and contributions due during the month of June 2020.

Who is eligible and what are the requirements for the Supplementary Salary?2020-07-07T21:56:11+00:00

In accordance with the provisions of Administrative Decision No. 591/2020 published on April 22, 2020, this benefit applies in respect of salaries earned in April 2020 to employees who meet the following conditions: 

  1. Whose employer’s main activity as for March 12th, 2020 is among those included in the list attached to the mentioned Administrative Decision.
  2. That the nominal invoicing variation of the company for the period from March 12 to April 12, 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 is up to 5% positive.
  3. That the number of employees of the companies indicated in the previous paragraph does not exceed the total amount of 800 as of February 29, 2020. 

In the case of companies with more than 800 employees as of February 29, 2020, in order to evaluate the granting of the respective benefits, the Admnistrative Decision establishes that: i) their financial situation should be evaluated based on the information collected on the AFIP’s “Emergency Assistance Program for Labor and Production – ATP” website and other information that may be deemed necessary and ii) the following requirements should be met: 

  1. That they will not be able to distribute profits for the fiscal periods closed as of November 2019. 
  2. That they may not repurchase their shares directly or indirectly. That they may not acquire securities in pesos for their subsequent and immediate sale in foreign currency or their transfer in custody abroad.
  3. That they may not make outlays of any kind to subjects directly or indirectly related to the beneficiary whose residence, establishment or domicile is in a non-cooperative jurisdiction or one with low or null taxation.   

It establishes that such requirements are applicable during a fiscal period.

It provides that for the purpose of calculating the number of employees, the terminations of employment that have occurred up to April 20,  2020 must be deducted. 

It considers as net salary the amount equivalent to 83% of the gross remuneration accrued for the month of February 2020 according to the sworn statements submitted by the employer. 

The benefit granted will be deposit in a bank account owned by the beneficiary.

The data needed to grant this benefit will be given by AFIP.

In accordance to the Administrative Decision No. 817/2020, the requirements to access the Complementary Salary for May 2020, are the same as they were in the case of companies with more than 800 employees.

As for companies with more than 800 employees, said requirements are going to be extended for 24 months.

Meanwhile, the AFIP’s Administrative Decision No. 4719/2020 (published on May 19th, 2020) established that the companies who reinstate the funds have to generate the Electronic Payment Flyer (VEP) and inform the quantity of employees who benefits from the program and the amount of money transferred to AFIP.

This transfer must be done: (i) for the salaries during April 2020 until May 31, 2020, and (ii) for the ones of May, 2020 and followings -if the benefit is extended- until the 20th of the month in which the payment was done.

In cases where the time between the day the benefit was paid, and the expiration date of the money transfer to the AFIP is lower than 5 business days, the employer will be able to wire the corresponding sums within this last term.

What is the criteria to which work suspension agreements shall abide according to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security?2020-07-07T22:02:01+00:00

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security issued Resolution No. 397/2020 which was published in the Official Gazette on April 30th 2020, in aims of providing legal certainty and a rapid response as well as accelerate all procedures related to the execution of agreements that establish work suspension mechanisms regarding people who are not able to perform their tasks. In this sense, the resolution also established the validity of all the agreements that adjust to the guidelines established in the prior agreement executed between Union Industrial Argentina or “UIA” (Argentinian Industrial Union) and Confederación General del Trabajo or “CGT”  (General Labour Confederacy). 

The agreement executed on April 28, 2020 between UIA and CGT, which was incorporated to Resolution No. 397/2020 as Annex I, advices the Executive Branch:

(i)  that “the sum that employers will have to pay as non-remunerative allowance or the money allocations which are paid as compensation for work suspensions in this context shall not be less than 75% of the net salary that should have been paid to the employee if he or she had worked;

(ii) that social contributions, health insurance and union fees must be paid on the agreed amounts;

(iii)that the period of valid suspension shall be 60 days with effect  from April 1, 2020;

(iv) that the only agreements that comply with these recommendations or that set higher percentages shall be approved. Otherwise, the will be submitted to the corresponding enforcement authority for their assessment considering the industry or company’s current situation;

(v) that employers will be able to apply suspensions simultaneously, alternately, in rotation, totally or in part;

(vi) that those who have already agreed with their employer under which conditions they will be providing services during quarantine can not be included in these agreements;

(vii) that those employees who are excluded from duty or are relieved for belonging to a risk group (elderly or with previous pathologies) can not be included; 

(viii) that the hereby established mechanism shall not be applied to those who have already agreed on other suspension criteria, either at present time or in the future;

(ix) that the complementary allowance that ANSES will pay in the context of “Programa de Asistencia de Emergencia al Trabajo y Producción” shall be considered as a part of the monetary contribution, so that the sum to be paid by the employer will complement it until the established percentage is reached;

(x) that employers shall maintain their employees rotation unchanged during an equal period to that of the validity of the Regulation.

What to do in the event of a breach of contract based on Covid-19?2020-07-07T22:06:03+00:00

Our legal system contemplates situations of justified noncompliance due to extraordinary circumstances, such as the outbreak of COVID-19. In this regard, the following principles and institutes can be mentioned:

  • The principle “rebus sic stantibus” (Latin expression meaning “things being as they are”) as well as that commonly known by its acronym in English “MAC” (“material adverse effect”, or “substantial adverse change”) may be invoked as an exception to the principle “pacta sunt servanda” (“what is agreed obliges”) in order to modify or alter what has been agreed between the parties.
  • Fortuitous event or force majeure: Both defined in the Civil and Commercial Code as “an event that could not be foreseen or, having been foreseen, could not be avoided”.
  • Impossibility of compliance: Which takes place as a result of a fortuitous case or force majeure, extinguishing the obligation without responsibility. Also regulated in the Civil and Commercial Code. 
  • Theory of Unforeseenness: Institute applicable when the performance of one of the parties, while not impossible, becomes excessively burdensome. Also regulated in the Civil and Commercial Code.
  • Frustration of the contractual purpose: Applicable when an extraordinary change in the circumstances existing at the time of the execution of the contract occurs, which was not caused or foreseen by the parties and exceeds the risk assumed by either of them.
  • Shared effort: Principle through which, either by a court order, a specific rule, or by agreement of the parties, the costs existing at the time of the change of circumstances are borne by both parties. 

Parties involved in these types of cases should analyze, together with their legal advisors, the rights and obligations arising from the contracts, and the impact of the emergency regulations issued, in order to define the most advisable steps to be taken.

In all cases, an accurate analysis of the facts, applicable laws and documents corresponding to each particular situation should be carried out.

In order to evaluate which course of action to follow you can contact us at coronavirus@pagbam.com.

During the quarantine, may a claimant request a mediation?2020-07-07T22:08:13+00:00

The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights issued Resolution No. 121/2020 which allows  mediators to conduct mediation hearings by digital means such as videoconferencing or other analogous means of communication. 

This new  form of hearings is optional and not mandatory, and consent of the defendants will be requested.  

The mediator must summon the parties by email. The parties and its attorneys must consent the modality of the hearing and inform to the mediator: (i) cell phone number; (ii) email address; and (iii) documents related to the identity of the parties. 

All notifications to the cell phone number and email address provided to the mediator will be deemed valid. 

In case an agreement is reached, it will be valid with the same effects as an ordinary mediation agreement. 

The agreement can be signed by digital signing procedures. In case of absence of digital signing software, the mediator and the parties may obtain exceptional permissions to assist to the mediator’s office in order to sign the agreement. 

If the agreement involves payment obligations, these must  be canceled by wire transfers to the bank account informed by the parties.

Can financial entities charge fees or commissions for operating during quarantine?2020-08-11T19:08:52+00:00

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Argentine Central Bank (“BCRA”) Board, through Communication A 6945, established that financial entities may not charge fees or commissions for transactions (deposits, withdrawals, inquiries, etc.) made through all the ATMs enabled and operated by them at a national level. This provision will apply up until September 30, 2020. 

The purpose of the Communication is to avoid circulation of people.

There will not be a number of extractions or amount limits –except for those expressly agreed for safety reasons or transaction restrictions. There also will not be any distinction between clients and non-clients, regardless of the type of account in which the transaction is executed. 

How will banks, credit and payment card issuers, and collection service companies operate during quarantine?2020-07-07T22:14:17+00:00

Through Communication “A” 6958 (amended by Communication “A” 6977 and Communication “A” 6982) the Argentine Central Bank stipulated that financial and exchange entities must open their branches for the general public -with attention only through counter limited exclusively to foreign exchange transactions- since April 13, extending in 2 hours the normal working hourse of public attention. 

Clients must have previously requested an appointment electronically, except for the beneficiaries of retirement and/or pension assets, who will not need an appointment from the financial institution, but must follow the schedule indicated by the ANSES.

On the other hand, non-financial companies that issue credit and/or purchase cards and other non-financial credit providers registered in the corresponding registry enabled by the Superintendence of Financial and Exchange Institutions may open their branches for cash desk services during their usual business hours as of April 13, 2020. In these cases, customers who are beneficiaries of social security and pension assets must also previously request the corresponding appointments.

Also, as from April 20, 2020, extra-bank collection companies will be able to attend public, subject to a specific protocol, the key elements of which are: (a) quering where necessary, on the basis on the recommendations of social distance of 1.5 meters between people; (b) clients who remain on the premises should not exceed 1 person for every 4 meters of surface area used for attention; (c) staff who attend the public shall have a mask that and visual protectors or similar protection, separated by at least 1.5 meters; and (d) priority attention hours shall be established for people over 60 and people at risk, or priority attention.   

Do I have to pay bank and credit cards debts during quarantine?2020-08-11T19:09:40+00:00

The Argentine Central Bank established that unpaid balances corresponding to maturities of credit assistance operating from April 1 to June 30, 2020 may only accrue compensatory interest at the contractually agreed rate (e.i., the application of punitive interest is prohibited, as well as the acceleration of deadlines for non-payment of the committed fees). In case of unpaid balances from financing from financial entities, excluding credit cards, which operate in the aforementioned period, the entity shall include the quote in the month following the end of the life of the credit. It means an extension in the average life of the financing.

What measures have been taken with regard to check bounces due to lack of funds?2020-08-11T19:10:33+00:00

While the Argentine Central Bank (BCRA) provided that electronic clearing houses (through which financial institutions clear their clients’ checks against each other) should continue to function normally during quarantine, check writers may not have funds available in their accounts to cover the maturities of those checks for operational or financial reasons. In this context, the imposition of sanctions (fines, closure of bank accounts and/or disqualification) for the rejection of checks for lack of funds has been suspended until June 30, 2020; no bank fees can be applied for this reason. However, it must be distinguished the situation of checks rejected before March 24 (with respect to which fines must be paid, but will not generate disqualifications until December 31, 2020) and those rejected as of March 24 (in which fines are directly suspended).

Additionally, the BCRA extended for 30 days the period for submitting checks whose deadlines for presentation operated between April 2 and April 30, 2020 (e.g. if the check is presented on April 12, it is automatically extended until May 12) and to allow a second presentation for checks rejected due to lack of funds (benefit that does not apply to checks generated by electronic means or ECHEQ). Notwithstanding this possibility of second presentation, the non-payment of the check must be reported to the Base of rejected checks at the time of its first presentation, without exceptions.

Can my bank account be closed?2020-08-11T19:11:00+00:00

Decree No. 312/2020 suspended bank accounts closures and disqualification under Section 1 of Law 25,730 until April 30th, 2020. Also, fines included on this Law cannot be applied. The measure was extended until December 31, 2020 (Decrees No 425/2020 and 544/2020)

Can I have utilities turned off or suspended the services for late or non-payment?2020-07-07T22:31:52+00:00

Executive Decree No. 311/2020 provides that, in case of delay or non-payment of up to three consecutive or alternate utility bills that are due as of March 1, 2020 the companies that provide electric energy, gas services and running water, grid and mobile telephony, Internet and cable TV, by radio or satellite link, may not suspend or turn off services for three months to the following users: 

  • beneficiaries of the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) and the Pregnancy Allowance; 
  • beneficiaries of Non-contributory Pensions with a monthly gross income not exceeding twice the Minimum Living and Mobile Wage; 
  • users enrolled in the Social Single Tax Regime (monotributo social); 
  • retired, pensioners and dependent workers with a monthly gross income lower or equal to twice the Minimum Living and Mobile Wage; 
  • self-employed workers enrolled in a category whose annual monthly income does not exceed twice the Minimum Living and Mobile Wage; 
  • users who receive unemployment insurance; 
  • electro dependent people (beneficiaries of Law No. 27.351); 
  • users included in the Special Social Security Regime for Private House Employees (Law N° 26.844); 
  • those exempt from payment of property tax (“ABL”) or local taxes of equal nature; 
  • the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MiPyMES) affected by the emergency, according to Law No. 25.300 and its regulations; 
  • Work Cooperative or Recovered Companies registered in the National Institute of Associationism and Social Economy (I.N.A.E.S.) affected by the emergency, as provided by the regulations; 
  •  the public and private health institutions affected by the emergency, as provided by regulations; and 
  • public welfare entities that contribute to the preparation and distribution of food during the emergency situation.

Resolution No. 173/2020, created a Coordination Unit, made up of representatives of the different Ministries and Secretariats, with the purpose of issuing reports and monitoring the compliance with the provisions of Decree No. 311/2020.

Is there a special line of credit currently available as a result of Covid-19? If so, who can apply for it?2020-07-07T22:36:47+00:00

Financial institutions can offer a special line of credit to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MiPyMEs) at a maximum annual interest rate of 24%, provided that at least 50% of the amount of such financing is allocated to working capital lines, such as salary payments and coverage of deferred checks.

The potential recipients of these lines of credit include duly authorized human health service providers, to the extent that they provide hospitalization services during the Health Emergency situation declared by Decree No. 260/2020 and are intended for the purchase of medical supplies and equipment.

In order to create incentives for financial institutions to grant this line of credit, a Specific Allocation Fund of thirty billion pesos ($30,000,000,000) was created within the framework of the Argentine Guarantee Fund (FoGAr), to provide guarantees to facilitate access to working capital loans (including salary payments, employer contributions and contributions, and  coverage deferred check coverage) for MiPyMEs.

In this sense, Decree No. 454/2020 exempts from the Tax on Credits and Debits in Bank Accounts and Other Transactions the accounts used in the specific development of its activity by the Argentine Guarantee Fund (FoGAr), and by the Funds for Specific Purposes that are established, since the entry into force of Decree 326/2020.

What are the requirements for anyone wishing to take out a Zero Rate Credit?2020-07-07T22:38:51+00:00

Administrative Decision No. 591/2020 establishes that in order to access to this benefit, persons adhering to the Simplified Regime for Small Taxpayers must meet the following requirements:

  1. To be registered in any category of the Regime and not to be reached by the benefit of the IFE. 
  2. Not to provide services to the national, provincial or municipal public sector; the beneficiary being deemed to be in such a situation when at least 70% of the amounts  invoiced in the period from March 12 to April 12, 2020 was issued to jurisdictions or entities comprising such sector.
  3. Not receiving income from an employment relationship or from retirement.
  4. That the electronic invoicing amount for the period from March 12 to April 12, 2020 has fallen below the monthly average minimum gross income for  the category in which it is registered.

In cases where electronic invoicing is not available, purchases should not exceed 80% of the monthly average of the lower limit of the category in which it is registered. The beneficiaries of this financing should not access the single, free market for the acquisition of foreign assets or acquire securities in pesos for their subsequent and immediate sale in foreign currency or transfer in custody abroad until the credit has been fully repaid.

General Resolution No. 4708/2020 issued by AFIP specifies AFIP’s obligations and the obligations that must be borne by the financial entities granting the zero-rate credits, including, among others, the provision to the financial entities of the information related to the consolidated payment slips (VEPs consolidados)  corresponding to the taxes and contributions of the beneficiaries of said credits, and the obligation of the bank granting the credit to pay the amount equivalent to the obligation of the corresponding fiscal period, according to the type of borrower.

Do I have to pay rent during quarantine?2020-07-07T22:42:20+00:00

Yes, rents must be paid during quarantine. However, the Decree No. 320/2020 establishes the suspension until September 30 of judicial eviction procedures with respect to the leases of the following types of property:

  • Single urban or rural housing;
  • Rooms intended for family or personal housing in boarding houses, hotels or other similar accommodation;
  • For cultural or community activities;
  • Rural rooms for small-scale family and agricultural production;
  • Rented by people belonging to the Simplified Regime for Small Taxpayer, and used for the provision of services, commerce or industry;
  • Rented by self-employed professionals for their professional use;
  • Rented by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises under the provisions of Law No. 24,467, as amended, for the provision of services, commerce or industry; and
  • Rented by Labor Cooperatives or Recovered Companies registered with the National Institute of Associationism and Social Economy (INAES).

In addition, the term of the contracts for the lease of the above-mentioned properties, which have been in operation since March 20, 2020 and are due to expire before September 30,  2020, is extended until 30 September 2020.  The lessee may choose to maintain the expiration date agreed by the parties or to extend this period for a shorter period than that authorised by the decree. 

The aforementioned decree also provides for the freezing of the price of the leases of the properties described in points (i) to (vii) until September 30, 2020. While this measure is in force, the price of the lease will be the one corresponding to the month of March 2020.

The resulting difference between the contractually agreed amount and the amount to be paid for the application of the price freeze shall be paid by the lessee in at least three and at most six equal and consecutive monthly installments, the first of which shall be due on the same date as the expiry of the rental fee corresponding to the month of October 2020, and together with the latter. The remaining instalments shall be due on the same day of the consecutive months. No interest may be applied. The parties may agree on a different form of payment which may not be more burdensome for the lessee than that established in the decree. 

The debts that may be generated from the effective date of this Decree and until September 30th, 2020 arising from non-payment, payments made outside the agreed contractual terms or partial payments, must be paid at least, in three installments and a maximum of six monthly installments, equal and consecutive, expiring the first one on the same date of the expiration of the rental fee that contractually corresponds to the month of October 2020.

Compensatory interest may be applied, which may not exceed the interest rate for fixed-terms in pesos to thirty days paid by the Banco de la Nación Argentina. 

No punitive or default interests may be applied, nor any other penalty, and the guarantor’s obligations will remain in force until full payment is made. The parties may agree on a different form of payment that may not be more burdensome for the lessee than the one established in the first paragraph of this Decree.

The location contracts whose lessee depends on the canon agreed in the lease contract to cover their basic needs or those of they primary and cohabiting family group, are excluded from the freezing of priced of locations.

Likewise, the lease and rural sharecropping contracts under the Law 13,246 are excluded from this Decree, with exceptions provided in Section 9, Subsection 5 (rural properties destined for both small family and agricultural productions), as well as the temporary location contracts under Section 1199 of the Civil and Commercial Code (cases where the property is intended for embassies, consulates or international organizations, housing use for tourist purposes, storage and fairgrounds).. Nor does the legal minimum time limit apply to contracts which have as their object the fulfilment of a specific purpose expressed in the contract and which must normally be fulfilled within the shortest agreed period.

Notwithstanding the above, in certain cases and depending on what was agreed, we understand that Section 1203 from Civil and Commercial Code could be invoked, which allows to request the exemption of the payment of the rental fee if the property cannot be used.

Do I have to pay my mortgage or pledge during the quarantine?2020-07-07T22:43:43+00:00

Yes, mortgage and pledge loans shall be paid. However, in accordance with Decree No. 319/2020, until September 30, 2020, the monthly instalments for mortgage loans on properties intended for single housing and occupied by the debtor or his successors may not exceed the amount of the corresponding instalment for the same concept that was charged in March 2020. The same price -freezing measure shall be applied to the monthly installments for pledge loans updated by Acquisition Value Unit (“UVA”), for the same term.

Are subsidies or financial aid given?2020-07-07T22:47:22+00:00

The Decree No. 309/2020 provides that an extraordinary subsidy will be granted  in April 2020 to eligible citizens, for a maximum of three thousand pesos ($3.000). The subsidy may be received by:

  • The beneficiaries of social security benefits of the “Sistema Integrado Previsional Argentino” (S.I.P.A., for its acronym in Spanish) (Law No. 24.241 and related laws).
  • The beneficiaries of the “Pensión Universal para el Adulto Mayor” (Section 13 of Law No. 27.260 and its amendments).
  • The beneficiaries of non-contributory pensions for elderly retirement,  disability, mothers of seven or more children, and other perceivable pensions paid by the National Social Security Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social – A.N.Se.S.).

A one-time extraordinary subsidy equivalent to the amounts paid during March 2020 for the “Asignaciones Universales por Hijo y por Embarazo para Protección Social” will be granted to the recipients of the mentioned “Asignaciones”.

Decree No. 310/2020 provided for an exceptional and non-contributory payment -called ““Ingreso Familiar de Emergencia” or “IFE”- to compensate the loss or serious income reduction of citizens affected by the health emergency. It will consist of a one-time payment granted in April 2020 of ten thousand pesos ($10.000), which will received by a member of each eligible family group.

The beneficiaries of the IFE will be currently unemployed citizens, citizens who work within the informal economy, citizens registered in Categories A and B of the Self-Employed Workers Regime (“monotributo”) or registered in the “Monotributo Social” or household employees who comply with the following requirements:

  • Hold Argentine citizenship (either by being natural born citizen or naturalized citizen) and have been a legal Argentine resident for no less than 2 years. 
  • Aged between 18 and 65 years old.
  • Both the applicant and the members of his or her family, if any, should not receive income from:  salaried employment, Categories C or higher of the Self-Employed Workers Regime (“monotributo” or “autónomos”) unemployment benefits; retirements, pensions and other retirements of contributory and non-contributory nature, whether they are granted by the National, Provincial, Municipal Governments or by the City of Buenos Aires; social subsidies, social complementary social salary, “Hacemos Futuro”, “Potenciar Trabajo” and other National, Provincial or Municipal social programs, except for the payments granted under the “Asignación Universal por Hijo o Embarazo” or “PROGRESAR” programs.
  • Resolution No. 8/2020 issued by the Ministry of Social Development approved certain complementary and explanatory rules for the granting of the IFE.
How should information and personal data regarding Coronavirus be handled?2020-07-07T22:53:59+00:00

Laws and regulations on personal data protection should be enforced and are not repealed or suspended, even during health emergency situations.

Health-related data are “sensitive data”. According to Law No. 25,326, they can only be processed with the express consent of the data subjects, or with the express authorization of a law, or if they are dissociated or “anonymized”, for statistical or scientific purposes. Dissemination of this data is not permitted. For example, like any other disease, the identity of patients infected with Coronavirus cannot be disclosed. Public health authorities may process these data within the scope of their competence, and health professionals must respect professional secrecy. In the case of companies, it is recommended that this kind of data should only be processed by health professionals, or at least professionals related to emergency care. It should be ensured that the information collected will not be used for other purposes. The data should be relevant, i.e. not excessive in relation to the purpose and context. The data may be transferred with the consent of the data subject. Databases should be deleted once the emergency situation is over.

Can companies hold shareholders meetings or board meetings remotely?2020-07-07T22:57:19+00:00

Yes, as of the issuance of General Resolution IGJ 11/2020, shareholders and board of directors meetings can be held remotely, using electronic means that allow for simultaneous communication, provided that the following is guaranteed:

  1. The possibility for all members to participate in the meetings
  2. The free accessibility to the platform that allows the simultaneous transmission of audio and video;
  3. The participation with voice and vote of all the members and of the supervisory body if it exists;
  4. That the meeting is recorded in digital format;
  5. That the representative keeps a copy in digital format for 5 years, and remains available to the members;
  6. That the meeting held is transcribed in the corresponding corporate book with express proof of those who participated and be signed by the legal representative; and
  7. That in the call and its communication through the corresponding legal and statutory means, the chosen means of communication and how to access it to participate are clearly informed.

In addition, the Argentine Securities Commission (“CNV”) issued the General Resolution No. 830/2020, which established that, during the period in which the free circulation of people is prohibited, limited or restricted, as a consequence of the state of sanitary emergency declared by the Argentine Government, companies under the surveillance of the CNV, may hold remote meetings either of their administrative body or governing body, provided that certain requirements are met.

A) Shareholders’ meetings shall comply with the following requirements in order to be held remotely:

  1. To guarantee free access to the meetings of all shareholders, with voice and vote;
  2. The communication media shall allow the simultaneous transmission of sound, images and words during the meetings, as well as their recording in digital format;
  3. The call of meeting notice and its communications through the corresponding legal and statutory means, shall state: the elected communication media, the log in process to enable shareholders to participate in such meetings and the procedures established for remote voting by digital means;
  4. Shareholders must notify their attendance by sending an email to the email address provided by the company. In the case of proxies, the corresponding certified power of attorney, should be delivered to the company within five business days prior to the meeting;
  5. The subjects and roles in which shareholders participated in the meeting, their locations, and the technical devices necessary for the meeting to take place must be recorded in the meeting minutes;
  6. To keep a digital copy of the meeting resolution for 5 years, which must be available to any requesting shareholder; and 
  7. The Surveillance Committee must exercise its powers during the meetings to ensure due compliance with the legal, regulatory and statutory provisions, particularly observing the referred resolution requirements.

For those cases in which remote shareholders’ meetings are not stipulated in the company’s bylaws, the resolution requires:

  1. the company to publish the call of meeting notice by all reasonable and necessary means, in order to guarantee the rights of its shareholders; and 
  2. the meeting to comply with the required quorum for extraordinary shareholders’ meetings and approve in the first item on the agenda to hold the meeting remotely with the majority required to amend the bylaws.

B) Meetings of the administration body shall comply with the requirements set forth in section 61 of Law No. 26,831 in order to be held remotely (surveillance committee shall record the regularity of the resolutions adopted, the members attending the meeting will be computed for the purposes of the quorum unless the bylaws establishes otherwise, and the minutes must be prepared and signed within 5 business days after such meeting took place by the meeting participants and the members of the surveillance committee. Moreover, in those cases that remote meetings are not established in the bylaws of a company, the first in-person shareholders´ meeting held after revocation of the emergency measures shall ratify the remote meeting resolutions as in an express item on the agenda, with the quorum required for extraordinary shareholders´ meetings and the required majorities to amend the company’s bylaws.

Likewise, through Resolution No. 146/2020, the National Institute of Associationism and Social Economy (INAES) established that cooperatives and mutuals may hold remote meetings of their management and control bodies, exempting themselves from the physical attendance of the members of said bodies throughout the period in which the free movement of people in general is prohibited, limited or restricted.

How does tourism operate in Argentina during quarantine?2020-07-07T22:58:30+00:00

Resolution No. 195/2020 authorized the suspension of activities and the temporary closure -until December 31th, 2020- of travel agencies which may come up with inconveniences to fulfill certain requirements set forth in Decree No. 2182/72.

In this sense, Resolution No. 194/2020 authorized travel agencies -subject to prior authorization- to operate E-Commerce websites which will run under the domain “.tur.ar” in order to provide customer service, thus exempting those who choose this virtual format from having  providing a physical commercial premises. Furthermore, this resolution established that travel agencies can only operate through a E-Commerce websites in aims to provide customer service until December 31th, 2020.

What happens to the academic year during quarantine?2020-07-07T22:59:26+00:00

On March 15, 2020, the Ministry of Education issued Resolution No. 108/2020, which ordered classroom suspension at the initial level, primary, secondary, and higher education institutes, for 14 days starting as of March 16, 2020. The measure has been extended consecutively and remains in force to this day. 

However, by means of Resolution No. 423/2020, an interdisciplinary Advisory Council was created with the purpose of monitoring the epidemiological situation prevailing in the different geographical areas of our country and planning the resumption of in-person classes (initial, primary, secondary, higher non-university and university education) in each area.

Which governmental agencies have suspended their activities?2020-08-11T19:19:21+00:00
  • Administrative Proceedings: Decree No. 298/2020 ordered the suspension of the deadlines for national administrative proceedings regulated by National Administrative Procedures Law No. 19.549 since March 31, 2020, until August 2, 2020 (Decree No. 327/2020, Decree No. 372/2020, Decree No. 494/2020, Decree 521/2020, Decree 577/2020 and Decree 604/2020). Proceedings related to the emergency declared by Law No. 27.541 are exempted from this measure.
  • Superintendence of Labor Risks: Resolution No. 238/2020, suspended the holding of elections, assemblies and/or congresses and any institutional act that requires the mobilization, transfer and/or agglomeration of people, of all the trade union associations registered with the Secretariat of Labor. The suspension was extended by means of Resolution No. 489/2020. However, Resolution No. 44/2020 approved the implementation of the “Mesa de Entradas Virtual” through the “e-Services S.R.T.” platform.
  • Financial Information Unit (UIF): Resolution No. 29/2020 established that public service will only operate virtually, with minimum in-person public service for urgent matters. The deadlines for administrative summary proceedings were initially suspended until March 31, 2020, as well as the ongoing supervision procedures carried out by the Supervision Directorate. By means of Resolution No. 32/2020, the aforementioned suspension was extended until April 12, 2020, and  established an automatic extension of the aforementioned deadlines for the duration of the lockdown measures. Likewise, Resolution 53/2020 exempts from the suspension of the administrative deadlines the off-site supervision procedures that, as of the issuance of the mentioned Resolution, are carried out jointly with the National Securities Commission. 
  • 18.8.77 Multilateral Convention – Arbitration Commission: General Resolution 1/2020 declared March 18 to March 31, 2020 as non-working days in all administrative proceedings before the entities implementing the 18.8.77 Multilateral Convention, notwithstanding the validity of the procedural acts carried out or to be carried out. By means of General Resolution No. 3/2020, such measure was extended through April 8, 2020, and and General Resolution 4/2020 extended the measure until 26 April 2020, or for the duration of the quarantine measures.
  • Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security – Labor Inspection Undersecretariat: By means of Provision No. 1/2020 all deadlines regarding administrative proceedings. inspection summary proceedings, processing of book signatures and collection of employment documentation were suspended from March 16 until March 31, 2020. Additionally, all defense hearings were suspended from March 18 to March 31, 2020. Recently, Resolution No. 444/2020 authorized ANSES and RENATRE to establish virtually procedures when they are related to the application, access, payment option and suspension of unemployment benefits established by Laws No. 24,013 and 25,371, and 25,191, respectively.
  • National Direction of Mandatory Conciliation Service and Private Household Personnel: By means of Disposition No. 8551/2020, all hearings and proceedings conducted before labor mediators under Law No. 24.635 (as amended and regulated) were suspended until March 31, 2020. Hearings for the ratification of spontaneous agreements, front-desk attention by SECLO agents and Private Household Court hearings were also suspended. By means of a communication from the director of the organism, Mr. Roberto Picozzi, the measures established by Disposition No. 8551/2020 were extended for the duration of the lockdown measures,  unless otherwise indicated by the National Executive Branch.
  • Argentine Judicial Power: The Supreme Court of Justice declared March 16 to August 2, 2020 as non-working days, by means of Court Resolution No. 6/2020 , Court Resolution No. 8/2020, Court Resolution No 14/2020, Court Resolution No. 16/2020, Court Resolution 18/2020 and  Court Resolution No. 25/2020. However,  by means of Court Resolution No. 9/2020, court work was authorized for the purpose of issuing, through digital means, court orders related to alimony payments, work termination compensations, work-related accidents, traffic accidents and professional fees.. Likewise, the judicial activity was resumed in some federal courts located in different Provinces (Court Resolution No.17/2020, Court Resolution No. 19/2020, Court Resolution No. 20/2020, Court Resolution No 23/2020 and Court Resolution No. 24/2020). Recently, through Court Resolution 27/2020, the non-working days (Feria Extraordinaria Judicial) were resumed in the National Supreme Court of Justice, the Oral Courts and the National and Federal Chambers (in the courts in which there had not been resumed yet).  It is also provided the extension of the non- working days in the First Instance Courts for which no prior ruling had been issued until 26 July 2020. With respect to the national and federal courts of first instance located in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the non-working days are going to be resumed as of July 27, 2020, unless the Court orders otherwise. The remaining federal chambers are required to inform the Court before July 23, 2020 of the possibility of ordering the resumption of the terms of the  non-working days, as of July 27, 2020 (in first instance courts that have not previously been authorized). Finally, it establishes accessory measures to the lifting of the Extraordinary Court Fair, including the suspension of the course of the procedural deadlines between July 18 and August 3, 2020; nor will the deadlines for the expiration of the instance run. 
  • The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights established that mediation hearings should not be held during the suspension time frame established by the National Supreme Court’s Resolution on Judicial Procedures. However, mediators are allowed to hold hearings by electronic means, by videoconference or other similar means of voice or image transmission, provided that the identity of the participants and the rules governing the procedure of the mandatory pre-trial mediation under Law No. 26,589 (Resolution No. 121/2020) are guaranteed.
  • Buenos Aires Province Supreme Court: By means of Resolution No. 386/2020, a judicial recess was established in the Province of Buenos Aires, with suspension of procedural terms, from March 16 to March 31, 2020. The mentioned suspension was extended until April 26, 2020 through SP Resolution No. 18/2020. Then, the measure was again extended until May 24, 2020. Subsequently, Resolution No. 480/2020 provided for the resumption of the deadlines as of April 29 for the issuance of all types of resolutions and judgments by digital means and their electronic notification in the Civil and Commercial, Family, Labour, Contentious-Administrative and Peace Courts. As of May 6, 2009, the resumption of deadlines was established only for electronic filings and procedural acts, including any act or procedural diligence after each filing, as long as they are compatible with the restrictions in force due to the pandemic and the health emergency, whose filings will be made to the extent that the technological means available allow and provided that they do not involve an influx or transfer of persons to judicial headquarters. In the case of the judicial bodies of the family jurisdiction, it was contemplated that they continue their activity under the current emergency regulations. Likewise, the limitation on initiating new proceedings is maintained, except for those corresponding to urgent cases and those in which the prescription of the action is imminent, only for the purposes of its interruption. As for the agencies of the Criminal and Juvenile Courts, they will continue their activity under the emergency regulations currently in force. However, they will be allowed to substantiate and decide on abbreviated, direct trial procedures and the suspension of the trial on evidence to the extent that the available technological means allow and as long as they do not involve an influx or transfer of persons to judicial headquarters or supplant the oral procedure with the written one. For the purposes of any hearing involving persons deprived of their liberty, the video-conference system shall in principle be applicable.
  • Province of Buenos Aires – Administrative Proceedings: By means of Decree No. 167/2020 all administrative proceedings and judicial terms regarding the application of the Administrative Proceedings Regulations of the Province of Buenos Aires were suspended from March 26, 2020 and are still in force. There are certain exceptions in connection to health emergency procedures.
  • The National Tax Court set an extraordinary recess from March 17, 2020 until March 31, 2020 (Resolution No. 13/2020). Such term was extended due to public health reasons as set forth by Decree No. 297/2020, for the same term and in the same conditions as the aforementioned Decree is extended by the National Executive Branch (Resolution No. 17/2020). However, by means of Resolution No. 23/2020, it was established that, despite confirming the extraordinary recess,  the appeals filed by electronic means during said recess, and those that may be filed in the future; with be accepted in the same form and on the same days and hours as the Agreed No. 840/93.
  • Ministry of Justice and Human Rights – National Directorate of the National Vehicle and Pledge Credits Registry: Provision No. 77/2020 orders the closure of the Sectional Vehicle and Pledge Credits Registries as from March 20, 2020 until March 31, 2020. This measure was extended by Provision No. 79/2020 until April 12, 2020. Provision 83/2020, ordered the opening of all the Sectional Registries  as of April 22, 2020, except for the Registries located in Santiago del Estero . The public attentions will be limited to people with electronically assigned appointments. Provision 84/2020 establishes the schedule of dates in which the pledge contracts and precautionary measures must be submitted for re-registration.
  • General Inspection of Justice (IGJ): General Resolution 10/2020 suspended from March 16 to March 30, 2020 the deadlines for answering of requests  provided for in Section 24 of General Resolution IGJ 7/2015, and the deadlines for complying with  capitalization and savings companies information regimes, provided for in Decree No. 142,277/43 and Resolution IGJ No. 8/2015. General Resolution 15/2020 extended the suspension of these deadlines until April 26, 2020. General Resolution 24/2020 extended the suspension until May 24, 2020. Finally, General Resolution 28/2020 established that the suspension of the proceedings before the IGJ shall be automatically extended until administrative deadlines are resumed at the national level.
  • National Communications Agency (ENACOM): Postal letter services may be deemed to have been delivered without the signature of the addressee until March 31, 2020 (Resolution No. 304/2020). Resolution No. 326/2020 issued by ENACOM provides for the suspension  of all deadlines, within the administrative procedures regulated by the National Law of Administrative Proceedings No. 19,549, by the Regulations of Administrative Proceedings – Decree 1759/72-, including those referring to the filing of appeals and other special proceedings, as from March 16, 2020 and until April 12, 2020. Notwithstanding, the deadline does not affect the validity of the acts carried out. Some exceptions are provided. The deadline suspension was extended by Resolution No. 359/2020, until April 26, 2020.  Recently, Resolution No. 461/2020 established that the deadlines in administrative proceedings – with the exceptions provided for in the Resolution – will be suspended as indicated in Decree 458/2020 and its future extensions. On the other hand, Section 2 of Resolution ENACOM No. 326/2020 was amended and extended for 60 calendar days as of July 1, 2020, the validity of permits, authorizations, registrations, inscriptions and licenses whose expiration operates from March 16 to June 30, 2020. Finally, it is established that companies providing fixed or mobile telephone, Internet and TV services, by radio-electronic means or by satellite, may request authorization to open their business premises to the corresponding National and/or Provincial authorities.
  • General Post Administration Agency (AGP): Provision No. 27/2020 suspended until March 31, 2020  all deadlines relating to ongoing summonses, requests, hearings or final notifications which, at the date of publication of Decree No. 260/20. This measure was extended until 17 July, 2020, inclusive, by means of Provision No. 56/2020. 
  • Ministry of Productive Development – Secretariat of Domestic Trade: Resolution No. 98/2020 , suspended, from March 16 until June 28, 2020 all deadlines applicable to Metrology, Commercial Loyalty and Competition, Consumer Defense, Antitrust and COPREC ongoing proceedings .  Notwithstanding the suspension of deadlines, Resolution No. 137/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade implements the System of Conciliation by Electronic Means (SICOME) within COPREC, and establishes its regulations, which provide for the holding of consumer hearings through electronic means. Likewise, Resolution No. 28/2020 of the Secretariat of Mining extends until June 7, 2020, inclusive, the suspension of face-to-face customer services in relation to the procedures related to the application of Law No. 24,196 on Mining Activity, as well as the suspension of deadlines for the National Directorate of Mining Investments and its agencies to issue resolutions. However, it is established that this measure will be inforce during the time that the social, preventive and obligatory isolation is extended. In the meantime, the “Remote Procedures” Platform (“TAD”) may be used to make filings in proceedings where electronic presentations are enabled.
  • Federal Tax Authority (AFIP): General Resolution No. 4682/2020 established an extraordinary tax recess period between March 18 and July 19, 2020. General Resolution No 4682/2020General  Resolution No. 4692/2020, General Resolution No. 4695/2020, General Resolution No. 4730/2020, General Resolution 4736/2020, General Resolution No. 4741/2020General Resolution No. 4750/2020 and General Resolution 4766/2020 suspended until August 2, 2020  the initiation of tax execution proceedings by AFIP, although it allowed the exercise of procedural acts intended to prevent the prescription of actions and powers of the Tax Authority to assess and/or demand payment of taxes, fines and accessories.
  • Social Security Agency (ANSES): Until April 15, 2020, in-person public attention operated under a reduced scheme. However, the ANSES telephone service (phone line 130) is operating, since it was declared an essential activity through ANSES Resolution No. 90/2020. Resolution No. 99/2020 declared certain services as critical, essential and indispensable, and established that they will be provided remotely or in-person. In the latter case, a gradual implementation schedule will be established. LIkewise Resolution 130/2020 automatically extends, for the duration of the lockdown measures, the period of validity of the authorizations granted to legal guardians, curators, assistants or representatives for the collection of social security benefits, unless otherwise ordered by a  court decision.
  • Banking Services – Communication “A” 6982: Banks and financial entities must open their operating branches, limiting customer service through a single window and exclusively for foreign currency account operations, extending the usual customer service hours by two hours. Clients must have previously requested an appointment ; except for the beneficiaries of retirement pensions, which will not need to make an appointment, but must follow the schedule indicated by ANSES.The same measure applies to non-financial institutions that issue credit and / or purchases cards and other non-financial credit providers registered in the corresponding registry administered by by the Superintendency of Financial and Exchange Entities, with the exception that in these cases clients who are beneficiaries of retirement pensions must also previously make an appointment.
  • National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI): Deadlines in all procedures within INPI’s competence are suspended until August 2, 2020 (Resolution No. 16/2020, Resolution No. 22/2020, Resolution No. 34/2020, Resolution No. 47/2020, Resolution 69/2020 and Resolution 78/2020). As of Administrative Decision No. 524/2020, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) provides minimum guards for on-site customer service with an appointment system. 
  • National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (SENASA): Until March 31, 2020, exceptions were made to compliance with the last vaccination schedule against Foot and Mouth Disease in cattle and bubalinos (except those that have not yet received their first vaccination). Likewise, through Resolution No. 313/2020 a special form of affidavit for the transport of live animals was approved.

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