A million more people on lockdown, Los Santos eateries to reopen

There are many points along the Panamanian – Costa Rican border where people come and go for ordinary rural or semi-rural business without a lot of concern about which country they’re in. But both countries see a health risk so now, as here, the border and health officials of the two countries are working such communities together to monitor public health and restrict the free passage of coronavirus infections back and forth. Seguro Social photo.

Severe lockdown in Colon, Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, some restrictions eased in Los Santos, Herrera and Cocle

by Eric Jackson

Citing concerns about increased infection rates in Colon province and the westernmost parts of Panama in Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, Minister of Health Dr. Luis Fernando Sucre has ordered the same sorts of health restriction that apply in Panama Oeste and Panama provinces. That means that starting on Friday night a 7 p.m. about one million people will be under a strict curfew until 5 a.m. on Monday.

Thereafter people’s hours of ciculation will be limited according to their gender, age and the last digit on the ID cards they use. (Cedula for citizens, passport for foreigners.) Women get to circulate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, while men can get out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be exceptions to the 7 p.m, to 5 a.m. curfew to allow food deliveries and establishments that prepare meals for such to operate until 10 a.m.

In the case of essential businesses, there will be restrictions on travel time to and from, to keep people from traveling at will using a business related pass in ways not related to that business. Generally people who have to work day shifts must be there by 8 a.m.

In provinces in Panama’s Dry Arc, however, low infection rates have led health authorities to ease restrictions. In Los Santos restaurants and fondas will be able to reopen, subject to health rules, starting on Monday. A lot of professional and administrative offices in Los Santos, Herrera and Cocle provinces will be able to reopen, as will enterprises like car dealerships.

The national government warns that if the epidemic gets worse in a given place, new restrictions on mobility may be imposed.

In an number of municipal districts mayors are issuing dry law decrees. The most populous of these is Arraijan. Unlike earlier in the year, it does not appear that the national government will insist on exclusive control of alcohol. Traditionally mayors and representantes have enjoyed broad powers to control bars and liquor vendors in their bailiwicks.

The general lay of the land on the day the new measures were announced.

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