The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, extended the state of national alert due to COVID-19 until September 12. In addition, from today until August 16, the country will be relaxing the lockdown in stages in order to make activities more flexible in order to begin reopening the economy. The Superintendency of Banking Sector Institutions (Sudeban, in Spanish) published a circular indicating banking hours. In other news, the Executive branch and mayors around the entire country have agreed to pay municipal taxes using the Petro cryptocurrency, which is expected to be implemented in the coming months.
The process of relaxing the lockdown will be done in two ways. In places with a high number of COVID-19 cases, such as the Capital District and the states of Miranda and Zulia, the opening will only be partial, allowing supermarkets, banks, doctors offices, the textile industry and hairdressers to open. However, in the rest of the country, there is greater flexibility as for instance, in the states of Mérida, Lara and Portuguesa, where drive-ins and launderette services may also operate; and sporting events held without an audience.
At both levels, banks may serve the public between 9 am and 1 pm. The Sudeban asks banking entities to continue offering services such as the delivery of debit and credit cards, in addition to guaranteeing the functioning of payment systems.
In other news, more than 300 mayors from the ruling party signed an agreement with the national government to collect municipal taxes in the Petro cryptocurrency in the coming months. In addition, they approved the creation of a Single Municipal Taxpayers Registry, with the aim of simplifying the local tax scheme. There were no discussions about the payment of national taxes in Petro, but it is a measure that could be taken in the future.