In extended session Friday night, the Cuenca municipal council approved a series of rules and restrictions to control the Covid-19 virus. There were no major changes to proposals made in the council’s Tuesday’s first debate.
The new measures, which go into effect Wednesday, September 23, replace national restrictions that had been in force since mid-March under a national state of emergency.
Among the key provisions of Cuenca’s Covid ordinance:
Private vehicles are allowed to circulate seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. After 11 p.m., drivers will need to show a salvoconducto permit. There are additional rules for heavy trucks, including delivery vehicles, but hours of circulation are the same as for private vehicles.
Restaurants and bars which serve food will be allowed to operate until midnight with 30 percent occupancy indoors and 50 percent outdoors.
The sale of liquor will be banned after 8 p.m. with the exception of restaurants and bars with food service, which can serve until midnight.
Gyms, athletic training centers, dance studios, swimming pools, theaters and cinemas are allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity with approved biosecurity measures in force.
Public transit, including city buses and the tram, can operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing and face covering requirements.
Churches are allowed to resume in-person services at 30 percent capacity indoors and 50 percent outdoors.
Bars and nightclubs will remain closed awaiting guidance from the national government as well as clearance to reopen from the local Emergency Operations Committee.
All public spaces, including parks, will be open with the requirement that social distancing and the wearing of face covering rules are observed.
The council established a sliding scale of fines for violations, ranging from $100 to $400. Those committing multiple offenses are subject to imprisonment.
Heavy rains cause flooding and accidents
Friday afternoon and evening thundershowers flooded several low-lying neighborhoods near rivers and were responsible for a rash of car and motorcycle accidents. Emergency personnel report serious damage to about 10 houses near the Tarqui and Tomebamba rivers but say there were no injuries.
The Cuenca national meteorology office said that rainfall averaged 30 to 40 millimeters in the area with 75 millimeters (3 inches) recorded in the historic district weather station at San Blas Plaza.
According to meteorologists, the storms are part of a weather pattern in the inter-mountain valley involving east to west movement of moisture from the Amazon region. They say the pattern will continue for several more days.
City brothels to relocate
Municipal officials have agreed to move licensed brothels out of the Cayambe neighborhood on the north side of the city. In the agreement with residents, the city said that following notification, brothel owners will have two years to relocate to areas yet to be designated for the sex trade.
Quito overtakes Guayaquil in the number of registered voters
For the first time since records were kept, the city of Quito has more registered voters than Guayaquil. According to the National Electoral Council, the metro-Quito area will have 1,974,274 eligible voters for the February elections while Guayaquil will have 1,972,971. The new numbers are no surprise since the national census office reported in 2018 that Quito had overtaken Guayaquil as the largest city in Ecuador.