On April 7, the third vice president of the Congress, Armando Castillo (VIVA – opposition), reported that the Legislative Branch is to suspend future plenary sessions temporarily due to the COVID-19 health emergency. However, Castillo explained that certain commissions and benches will continue to work on tasks related to the political oversight of the handling of the crisis. It was not confirmed how long the suspension will last but this depends on the regulatory requirements involved in tackling the crisis.
The deputy indicated that the legislative body had held an exceptional session during the weekend to organize the setup for the approval of emergency initiatives, such as the Economic Recovery Law, the need to increase the General Budget and earmark the creation of infrastructure programs. This decision was taken in line with the country’s health recommendations, which warned of a possible increase in cases as the virus spreads among the population in the coming days.
However, Castillo explained that some party benches had expressed concern over the increase in contagion numbers and requested that the sessions be suspended. This duly was agreed, although some lawmakers will be allowed to continue carrying out oversight functions regarding the management of the pandemic. However, the opposition benches of the CREO and Semilla expressed their intention of stepping up work if the health and economic emergency worsens.
Also President Alejandro Giammattei announced that alcohol sales throughout the country will be forbidden during Easter Week. He added that mobility by any means of transport will be restricted during this period, except for people who must do so for work reasons. The measure will be in effect until Monday, April 13. “Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places will be strictly forbidden,” Giammattei said.