Cuenca could ease restrictions next week, mayor says, but a final decision has not been made

May 13, 2020 | 30 comments

Mayor Pedro Palacios

Responding to a claim in an online business newsletter that Cuenca would relax health emergency restrictions on May 17, Mayor Pedro Palacios said Wednesday that a final decision will not be made until Friday or Saturday.

“We are approaching the reopening point but the decision is up to the cantonal Emergency Operations Committee,” Palacios said. “They will decide based on the trends in Covid-19 infections and it is not up to me.”

The mayor met Tuesday with business leaders to discuss protocols for a phased return to economic activity. Representatives from industry, agriculture, tourism, construction, restaurants and retail stores attended the meeting at the Mall del Rio convention center and discussed plans presented by city health officers.

“We are eager to cooperate with the municipality so we can put the business community back on its feet,” said Diego Malo, president of the Chamber of Industries. “We understand that the return to normal operations will be gradual and that the health of our employees and of the public must come first.”

Malo said programs for testing employees and establishing biosecurity protocols will be ready by the end of the week.

In comments on other topics Wednesday afternoon, Palacios said he is meeting with owners of Cuenca’s municipal buses and hopes to reach an agreement to integrate the tram and bus system within a matter of weeks. The major issues to be resolved are the use of a common transport debit card and modification to three bus routes to accommodate the tram.

On Tuesday, Palacious announced the resumption of work on the tram in preparation for the start of commercial operations in July or August.

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