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Coronavirus - Overview of the impacts of the lockdown in Mauritius Part I - National Measures

  • Mauritius
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus - Country overview
  • Coronavirus - Regulatory issues


National Measures

1. Foreign travel restrictions

All foreign travel through the port and the airport of Mauritius have been banned from 19 March to 02 April 2020.

2. National curfew

The Curfew  Order: In connection with the unfavourable development with the number of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) cases increasing on a daily basis, the Minister of Health issued a Curfew Order by way of General Notice No. 512 of 2020 under Regulation 14 (1) of the Prevention and Mitigation of Infectious Disease (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (the Coronavirus Regulations 2020). The Curfew Order was effective as from Monday 23 March 2020 at 20 00 hrs until Thursday 02 April 2020 at 20 00 hrs, and has now been extended till 15 April 2020 at 20 00 hours (the Curfew Period).

Exceptions for holders of the COVID 19 Work Access Permit: Notwithstanding the Curfew Order, the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) issued a communiqué on 22 March 2020 informing the public that the Commissioner of the MPF has the prerogative to exceptionally, and subject to terms and conditions as he may impose, issue a COVID 19 Work Access Permit (the Permit) to certain persons (the Exempted Persons) for the sole purpose of travelling from their place of residence to their place of work, and vice-versa.

Eligibility for the Permit: The Exempted Persons under the Curfew Order are:

i. employees of the public sector, including Ministries and Government departments, public enterprises and statutory bodies, providing essential services to the public as may be designated by the Head of the public bodies concerned; and

ii. employees of the private sector providing specific “essential services” including inter alia:

  • Medical and related Services (Private Clinics, Pharmacies, Laboratories, Manufacturer of medical devices, Nursing Homes and Medical Care providers etc);
  • Manufacturers of Sanitary and Hygiene Products, Detergents, Sanitisers and Masks;
  • Supermarkets (subject to mandatory safety measures) and associated food production and supply chains (including online purchase and home delivery); and
  • Utilities (including telecom operators and cooking gas distribution), Freight Forwarding and other Logistic activities, and port and airport related activities.

The Commissioner indicated that only a strict minimum number of employees will be allowed to utilise the Permit to provide the essential services. In a Communiqué from the Ministry of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training (the Ministry of Labour) employers concerned with the “Essential Services” have been requested to allow only a minimum number of staff under the age of 60 to attend their workplace.

Sanctions for breach of the Curfew Order: Any person, other than an Exempted Person, acting in breach of the Curfew Order, shall commit an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding MUR 500 and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.

3. Other national measures

Restricted Areas: The quarantine centres, certain hospitals and certain hotels converted into quarantine centres were earmarked by the Commissioner as Restricted Areas to which the general public do not have access.

Home Delivery Services: The Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Protection and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry are closely collaborating with e-commerce sites, mass retailers and logistics companies to ensure the supply of food items to citizens during the Curfew Period.

Covid-19 Solidarity Fund: The Covid-19 Solidarity Fund (the Fund) was set up to provide support to the population affected by the Coronavirus. Members of the majority of the Parliament will for a period of 1 year contribute 10% of their salary to the Fund. The public and private sector institutions were invited to make voluntary contributions to the Fund.

Wage Assistance Scheme: Under this Scheme, private sector employees are guaranteed the payment of their salaries for March 2020. Any employer whose business is adversely affected by the Coronavirus and the impact of the lockdown may, after payment of salaries, apply to the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) for financial support under the Scheme, whereby (a) private sector employer may receive, in respect of its wage bill for March 2020, an amount equivalent to 15 days’ basic wage for its employees drawing a monthly basic wage of up to MUR 50,000 (subject to a cap of MUR 12,500 of assistance per employee) and (b) exceptionally, apply to the MRA for additional assistance if it is unable to pay salaries for the current month due to cashflow difficulties. The application form relating to the Scheme is available on the following link:

Bank of Mauritius measures: Assistance provided by the Bank of Mauritius (BOM) to households and businesses include:

  • A 6 month moratorium by commercial banks for the repayment of capital on existing household loans as from 01 April 2020;
  • The BOM will bear interest on household loans of borrowers earning a combined monthly basic salary of up to MUR 50,000, for the period 01 April 2020 to 30 June 2020. Overdrafts, credit cards and other credit facilities are not included for this measure;
  • A Special Foreign Currency (USD) Line of Credit of USD 300 million targeting operators with foreign currency earnings (including SMEs) will be made available through commercial banks from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, with a repayment of two (2) years from the date of disbursement and an interest rate of 6-month USD LIBOR;
  • A USD/MUR swap with commercial banks USD100 million effective from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 is introduced to commercial banks in supporting import-oriented businesses; and
  • ATM service fees are waived during the Curfew Period regardless of the issuing bank.