The National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) voted Thursday to eliminate the “traffic light” or alert code system used to track Covid-19 health risks in provinces and cantons. The system was eliminated at the request of Health Minister Ximena Garzón who said it is no longer needed due to improving pandemic conditions.
In other action, the COE announced that there will be no restrictions beyond those imposed by local communities for next week’s Carnaval holidays and that the southern border with Peru is reopening. The committee also continued the process of increasing capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events, including allowing 60 percent capacity at football games and 75 capacity for concerts.
It also recommended that the practice of temperature-taking at business and office entrances be eliminated, saying accuracy was “problematic” and that it provided little protection against the virus.
In a statement providing guidance to local governments for Carnival, the COE urged individuals to continue to wear masks but to otherwise use “good judgment” during the celebration. “There will be no restrictions on the nation’s streets and highways or at the beaches. In addition, there will be no restrictions on operating hours for businesses, including restaurants, bars and other entertainment centers.”
The Carnaval holiday begins Saturday, February 26 and ends on March 1.
For the first time in almost two years, Ecuador’s border with Peru is open as of Friday, February 18. Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguín said that the crossings at Huaquillas and Macará will be fully operational, with the observation of biosecurity measures.
The COE released a revised list of capacity limits and restrictions:
- 80% indoor capacity for essential activities such as markets, supermarkets, financial services, and public services.
- 80% indoor and 100% outdoor capacity for non-essential activities such as restaurants, circuses, theaters without sales and consumption of food and beverages, and gyms and spas.
- 60% indoor and 75% outdoor capacity for bars, karaoke bars, nightclubs, and brothels.
- 100% capacity for outdoor spaces such as beaches and parks.
- 60% capacity in stadiums for football games and 75% capacity for concerts.
- 100% for all public transport services, including buses, trams and airplanes.