The Guayaquil cantonal Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has mandated that those attending public events in theaters, cinemas, social clubs, hotel salons and convention centers show vaccine cards or negative PCR or antigen test results for entry. The new order goes into effect Wednesday, December 22 for a period of 60 days and could be extended.
The new Covid-19 health restrictions follow recommendations from the national COE, which reduced capacity allowances last week for indoor locations hosting pubic events .”The committee believes these new measures are necessary to control the spread of the coronavirus, which we expect to intensify during the holidays,” the cantonal COE said in a statement. “We are also concerned with the emergence of the Omicron variant and must ensure that health care facilities and staff are not overwhelmed with new cases.”
In making its decision, the COE cited a small rise in Covid-19 cases at Guayaquil’s Luis Vernaza public hospital. On Monday, there were 14 Covid-19 patients in the hospital who required supplemental oxygen although none were in ICU care. The city’s Social Security hospital reports no additional hospitalizations but says there is an increase in those requesting tests on an out-patient basis.
Mayor Cynthia Viteri said she is considering “incentives” to boost vaccinations, including requiring those paying property taxes or picking up city food donations to be vaccinated. “We are considering setting up vaccination stations next to payment and pick-up areas,” she said.
A member of the Guayaquil COE said the committee decided not to require proof of vaccination for those entering restaurants but will keep the option open. “This is certainly not off the table and could be applied to several indoor types of businesses if we see an increase in cases,” one member said.
In addition to Guayaquil, other cantonal COEs, including Cuenca’s and Quito’s, are meeting this week to consider new Covid precautions.