Cuenca to keep some restrictions but end others after Sept. 12; Lasso warns of abandoning the U.S. dollar; Police warn of increased thefts

Sep 5, 2020 | 109 comments

Driving restrictions and face mask and social distancing requirements will continue to be enforced after the national health emergency ends September 12, the Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee announced Friday night.

Social distancing restrictions will remain in force for public transporation. (El Mercurio)

Among the restrictions that will end, the COE said, are the daily curfew and prohibitions on personal movement. In addition, business and services that have been restricted or closed since health emergency rules were ordered in mid-March, such as sport and health clubs, will be allowed to reopen, and restaurants and tour agencies will be allowed to extend hours and services.

“We will keep the measures we consider essential to protect the health of residents but will allow some restrictions to end,” Mayor Pedro Palacios said after the meeting. “We are moving into a period when responsibility for maintaining community health is shifting to the  individuals and we will work with the national government in a public information campaign with this message.”

In a radio interview following the COE meeting, Palacios said that restrictions on operation of motor vehicles does not violate the constititution. “Driving a car is priviledge, not a right, and can be controlled by the transportation authorities of local governments. The movements of individuals by other means is not impeded.”

Palacios the same odd-even license plate restrictions for driving will continue in effect after September 12 and will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Other restritions that will remain in place are prohibitions of large public gatherings, such as for concerts or sports events; controls on occupancy in public offices, restaurants and on public transportation.

Palacios said the number of servere cases of Covid-19 is dropping in Cuenca and said he believes the worst is over. “Our numbers have held steady for three weeks and we had open hospital beds during the past week. Data indicates that the number of deaths and hospitalizations per capita is in decline not just in Cuenca but worldwide.”

Thieves becoming more aggressive
The Cuenca command of the National Police issued a statement Thursday warning of an increase in robberies in the city. The statement said that the number of break-ins is increasing as well as cases of personal theft. The police said there has been no increase in violent crime but warned citizens to protect their belongings and to avoid personal situations where they would be subject to theft or assault.

Lasso attacks candidates who would abandon the U.S. dollar
Presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso described as a “dangerous trend” that other candidates are advocating Ecuador create a national currency and end its use of the U.S. dollar. “I notice that three candidates of the left are making this proposal and the voters of Ecuador should be alarmed,” he said Thursday. “Such a move would create an environment of hyper-inlfation that would destroy jobs and businesses and make Ecuador another international basket case, like Venezuela.”