City expects 60,000 tourists for holiday weekend; Bars and discos reopen; Bus strike is threatened; Cuenca holiday events resume; Windshield washer attacks
Hola, Todos –
Cuenca espera a los turistas (Cuenca awaits tourists) – The country is preparing for 3 days of asueto (feriada – holiday – your words for the day.) starting on viernes, 8/10 to domingo, 10/10 to celebrate the 9 de octubre, the Independence of Guayaquil. Diego Vidal, zone 6 director of Tourism is hoping both national and foreign tourists will visit Azuay. He also hopes that hotel occupancy will exceed 80% taking into account that between 50,000 & 60,000 tourists visited Cuenca during the 10 de Agosto holidays. Security, advice and guidance will be provided by 43 agents of the Policía de Turismo. <You can test how well they learned English – just ask them some questions.>
Enrique Andrade, representative of the Asociación de Bares y Discotecas in Cuenca said they have complied with all of the requirements to reopen. Biosecurity measures include CO2 meters <Is this something to replace the useless thermometers? Or does it measure the effectiveness of ventilation in interior spaces?>, signage, and capacity limits of 50%. Also the volume of music will be moderated and sales of alcohol will be controlled. Use of dance floors will be suspended and interaction between tables will be prohibited in order to maintain social distancing. Andrade hopes that reopening bars will avoid all the clandestine fiestas.
Hernan Riera, manager of the Alianza de Transporte said they are ready to fulfill the demand from passengers during the feriado. They will have buses running every 30 minutes between Cuenca and Guayaquil via La Troncal and Molleturo. Alianza has 120 buses operated by Turismo Oriental, Express Sucre, Súper Taxi Cuenca y Ejecutivo San Luis. Fernando Pineda, manager of Súper Semeria said that the line will be offering discounts because of the fiestas de Guayaquil and is considering discounts for the fiestas de Cuenca. They are also running a raffle for 2 tickets to followers of their social networks. Right now they have 8 runs through the Cajas and 16 through La Troncal.
La Municipalidad anuncia subsidios (The Municipality announces subsidies) – The resolutions made by the general assembly convened by the Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) will be known today. The CTC wants an increase in fares due to financial pressures from repayment of bank loans to buy new buses, loss of passengers, and fuel price increases. It has not discarded the idea of paralyzing bus service or other means to enforce its demand that the city apply the fare increases written into the Ordenanza que Regula las Condiciones para la Mejoramiento de la Calidad del Servicio de Transporte Público de Pasajeros de Buses Urbanos y su Plan de Renovación. <What a mouthful.> Yesterday the city announced that it had not considered a fare increase, but that it is working with the CTC on a subsidy which will be calculated according to a study done by the Dirección de Gestión de Movilidad (DGM -Mobility Management Directorate) of the city
La música y las ferias vuelven en noviembre (Music and fairs return in November) – The more than 300 activities to celebrate the 201 years of Cuenca’s independence in noviembre will include concerts, theater, book launches, walks, and the traditional ferias. This year the festivities will look more like the years before the pandemic with a series of concerts in the “Alejandro Serrano Aguilar” stadium with more than 90% of the musicians coming from Cuenca. There will be scenic arts presentations in the ex Escuela Central and CIDAP’s Festival Artesanías de América will return to he sidewalks along 12 de Abril and part of Paseo 3 de Noviembre. One difference will be that there will not be music shows or an invited country due to limited economic resources. There will be about 160 craftspeople from Ecuador, Perú, Chile and Colombia for the event which will last from 30/10 to 3/11.
Conmoción por agresión que involucró a limpiaparabrisas (Uproar from assault involving windshield cleaners) – Two windshield cleaners and a driver were involved in an incident in Guayaquil. The cleaners intimidated a driver with a knife and screwdriver, injuring his hand, apparently for not letting them clean the windows. The Prosecutor’s office started an investigation for the alleged crime of intimidation against the two Venezuelans who intimidated the driver. One of the agressors along with the driver were taken to the Prosecutor’s office, but the victim did not file charges, and the cleaner was automatically released. The City of Guayaquil is conducting operations at intersections where there informal vendors and cleaners work.
In Cuenca, there are frequent controls to dissuade cleaners after complaints by citizens who were victims of threats if they didn’t give money to the cleaners. The cleaners maintain they have a right to work and this is how they survive. They also said there are some who pose as cleaners to commit crimes.
Hay un ligero incremento de casos de Covid (There is a slight increase in Covid cases) – Ayer, the ministra de Salud, Ximena Garzón, announced that there was a slight increase in the number of cases and deaths due to Covid and asked citizens to not relax biosecurity measures and to complete their vaccinations. She said that 35% of the total population of Ecuador is still not vaccinated and said that this was the cause of the increase in infections. She emphasized that herd immunity has not been reached, but there are still large events, concerts and fiestas where the capacities recommended by he COE are exceeded. As part of the reactivation process, Juan Zapata, president of the national COE has decided to raise the capacity limits from 50% to 70% and maintain biosecurity measures.
Colombia crea un comando para frontera con Venezuela (Colombia creates a command for the border with Venezuela) – Ayer, Colombia activated the Comando Específico de Norte de Santander (Cenor) to strengthen security in this departamento (province/state) which has the main border crossing with Venezuela. There are threats of narcotrafficking and terrorism in this area.
And that´s all for today so Hasta ? –