Decree 457 of 2020

By Decree 457 of 22nd March 2020, the Ministry of Interior repealed Decree 420 of 18th March 2020, and it established the mandatory preventive isolation of all inhabitants of Colombia from 00:00 hours on Wednesday, 25th March 2020, until 00:00 hours on Tuesday, 13th April 2020, as a result of the health emergency that exists in Colombia because of COVID-19. Additionally, during the same period, domestic flights have been suspended[1].

Article 3 of the Decree establishes that the people’s right to move will be allowed in the following cases or for the following activities:

  1. Assistance and provision of health services.
  2. Acquisition of essential goods[2].
  3. Locomotion to banking, financial and notary services[3].
  4. Assistance and care of children, adolescents, persons over 70 years-old, persons with disabilities and sick persons with special treatments requiring assistance from trained personnel. If one of these persons has to leave the place of isolation, they may do so accompanied by a companion person.
  5. Due to force majeure or fortuitous events.
  6. Medical missions of international health organizations and provision of professional, administrative, operational and technical health services, whether public or private services.
  7. The chain of production and distribution of medicines, supplies, pharmaceuticals and cleaning products, disinfection and personal hygiene products for homes and hospitals; health technology equipment and devices, as well as maintenance and support to ensure the continuous provision of health services. Likewise, the operation of commercial establishments for the commercialization of medicines, pharmaceutical products, supplies, equipment and health technology devices.
  8. Activities related to emergency services, including veterinary emergencies.
  9. Funeral services, burials and cremations.
  10. The chain of production and distribution of: (i) supplies to produce essential goods; (ii) essential goods; (iii) pet food and medicine, and other goods and supplies needed to deal with the health emergency.
  11. The chain of sowing and distribution, including import and export of seeds, agricultural, fish and livestock products and agrochemicals[4]; agricultural, fish and livestock products and animal feed; maintenance of animal health; operation of food processing centers; operation of infrastructure for the supply of water, either for population or for agricultural purposes.
  12. On-site commercialization of essential goods will take place in supply markets, cellars, markets, wholesale and retail supermarkets and retail markets in establishments and commercial premises at the national level, and they will be able to commercialize their products through e-commerce platforms and/or by delivery.
  13. The activities of public employees and State contractors that are strictly necessary to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19, and to guarantee the operation of the indispensable State services.
  14. The activities of diplomatic and consular missions duly accredited before the Colombian State, and that are necessary to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19.
  15. The activities of the Military Forces, the National Police and the State security agencies, as well as the military and defense industry.
  16. The activities of public and private service ports, exclusively for the transport of cargo[5].
  17. Maritime and river dredging activities.
  18. The review and attention of emergencies and road affectations, and infrastructure works that cannot be suspended.
  19. The activities necessary for airport operations.
  20. The commercialization of gastronomic products through e-commerce platforms or by delivery. Restaurants located within hotel facilities may only provide services to their guests.
  21. The hotel industry’s activities to attend to guests, strictly necessary to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19.
  22. The operation of computers, computer systems, communication networks, data and information whose destruction or interference may weaken or impact the security of the economy, public health or a combination thereof.
  23. The operation of call centers, technical support and data processing centers providing services in the national territory and of e-commerce platforms.
  24. The provision of private security and surveillance services, prison and penitentiary services and companies that provide cleaning and sanitation services in public buildings and common areas of these buildings.
  25. The activities necessary to guarantee the provision of (i) public water, sewerage, electricity, public lighting and cleaning services (including biological or sanitary waste); (ii) the logistics chain for the supply, import and export of hydrocarbons, fuels, liquids, biofuels, natural gas, Liquid Petroleum Gas – (GLP for its acronym in Spanish); (iii) the logistics chain for the supply, import and export of minerals; and (iv) the Internet and telephone services.
  26. The provision of banking and financial services, of postal payment operators, risk centers, transport of securities and notary activities[6].
  27. The operation of postal, courier, radio, television, press and media distribution services.
  28. The supply of food and essential goods under State and private social programs.
  29. The activities of the interreligious sector related to institutional emergency programs and humanitarian, spiritual and psychological aid.
  30. The activities necessary to carry out the indispensable maintenance of companies, industrial plants or mines, in the public or private sector, which by the nature of their productive process require their operation to be uninterrupted.
  31. The intervention of civil works and construction, which, due to their state of progress or their characteristics, present risks of technical stability, threat of collapse or require actions of structural reinforcement.
  32. The activities of operators of salary payments, fees, pensions, public and private economic benefits; periodic social economic benefits (BEPS for its acronym in Spanish), and those corresponding to the systems and subsystems of Social Security or Social Fringe Benefits.
  33. The necessary displacement of management and teaching staff of public and private educational institutions, to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19.
  34. The construction of health infrastructure strictly necessary to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19.

The persons who carry out the above-mentioned activities shall be identified during the exercise of their functions. In view of phytosanitary measures, only one person per family may take out pets or companion animals. The sale of alcoholic beverages is not prohibited, yet the consumption of those in open spaces and commercial establishments is prohibited until 12th April 2020. In addition, public transport services by land, cable, river and sea for passengers, postal services and package distribution must be guaranteed within the national territory, as necessary to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and the activities permitted.

According to Article 2 of the Decree, it is the Governors and Mayors who, according to their jurisdiction and competence, must adopt the instructions, acts and orders necessary for the execution of the isolation measure. Any additional exceptions considered necessary by the Governors and Mayors must be previously informed and coordinated with the Ministry of Interior.


[1] Domestic flights will be allowed in cases of humanitarian emergency; transport of cargo and merchandises; and cases of force majeure and fortuitous events.

[2] Food, drinks, medicines, medical devices, cleaning and goods for ordinary consumption by the population

[3] Only one person per family shall be allowed to carry out the activities described in paragraph 2 and paragraph 3.

[4] Fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

[5] Cargo transport, storage and logistics for import and export cargo must be ensured.

[6] The Superintendency of Notaries shall determine the hours and shifts in which the notarial service is to be provided, guaranteeing the provision of the service to the most vulnerable persons and persons under special constitutional protection.