President Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency Wednesday night, imposing total weekend lockdowns and an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekday curfew in 16 provinces to combat a rising tide of Covid-19 cases and to relieve an over-stressed health care system. The curfew will be in effect for 28 days, beginning Friday, April 23 at 8 p.m.
The curfew applies to Azuay, Imbabura, Loja, Manabí, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Guayas, Pichincha, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, Tungurahua, Carchi, Cotopaxi, Zamora Chinchipe, El Oro and Sucumbíos Provinces.
In addition to the curfews, the declaration orders all non-essential workers to telecommunte and schools and universities to continue to conduct classes via the internet and orders those that have recently resumed face-to-face meetings to return to online status.
In a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Presidential Cabinet Secretary Jorge Wated said that hospitals are “fully saturated” in the 16 provinces included in the curfew plan. “In addition to the original strain of the Covid virus, we are now dealing with the Brazilian variant which is exhibiting a more rapid spread and affecting people of different ages, including young people. We have accepted the suggestions of many health professionals in arriving at our recommendations to the president.”
Wated also said that the intent of the curfew is to provide relief to both public and private hospitals.
Juan Zapata, president of the national Emergency Operations Committee, said the curfew will allow 25 exceptions. “We have carefully considered the services and activities that must continue during curfew hours.”
The exceptions to the curfew restrictions are:
1) Public and private health services;
2) Public and private security services, emergency services and control agencies;
3) Strategic sectors;
4) Emergency road services;
5) Export sector and its logistical chain;
6) Provision of basic services such as drinking water, electricity, garbage collection, among others;
7) Provision of food, including transportation, marketing and sales activities;
8) Provision of medicines, medical and sanitary supplies, including their transportation and sale;
9) Industries and businesses related to the care of animals;
10) News media workers;
11) Platforms and delivery services for food and medicine and associated personnel;
12) Diplomatic, consular services and international organization personnel accredited by the government;
13) Private persons in case of a duly justified emergency;
14) Activities related to the financial services and banking sector;
15) Officials of the National Electoral Council and the Contentious Electoral Tribunal;
17) Officials of the Constitutional Court;
18) Employees of the Judicial Branch;
19) Officials of the Office of the Attorney General, the National Assembly and the Office of the Comptroller General of the State;
20) Persons responsible for or in charge of the distribution and delivery of school meals;
21) People who must move to ports, airports or border crossings. In those cases, the enabling documents will be the holder’s tickets or boarding tickets. Air transportation will be allowed to maintain its regular schedule;
22) People who have scheduled their vaccination appointments, including those who are in charge of their care and transfer for this purpose, or those who are within phase 1 of vaccination.
23) People who have medical or dental appointments.
24) Employees of the construction and tourism sectors.
25) Others determined to provide essential services by the National COE.
The qualifying documents for the exemptions of the sectors and people mentioned above are: RUC, RISE, referral guides, credentials, vaccination shifts, air tickets and verifiable medical appointments.
For detailed rules of the state of emergency, click here.
The restrictions will end at midnight May 20.