The Ministries of Health and Tourism and the Agency for Sanitary Control have released a 21-page document specifying the regulations that restaurants, bars and cafes must follow when they reopen. Most of Ecuador’s eating and drinking establishments are closed to sit-down business as a result of the Covid-19 health emergency but are expected to reopen in the coming weeks.
The duration of the regulations will be determined by the progression of the infection nationally, local Covid case counts and the development and availability of a vaccine for the virus.
Under the new rules, tables and chairs must be two meters apart and customers must wear masks and apply hand sanitizers when entering the business. Protective gloves are optional but encouraged.
All employees of food- and drink-serving businesses will be required to undergo testing for Covid-19 or test positive two times for Covid antibodies. The regulations provide extensive guidelines for workers covering social distancing, dress, face masks as well as protocols for food preparation. The wearing of jewelry will be prohibited.
Operating hours will be reduced in most cantons but actual schedules will be left up to the local Emergency Operations Committee.
Local taxis install dividers between driver and passengers
Most Cuenca taxis are now equipped with a plexiglass dividers between the front and back seats, the association representing taxi drivers says. In addition, taxis will provide masks, gloves and disinfecting gels to passengers and operate with open windows, weather permitting. Patricio Padilla, president of the United Front Association of Taxi Drivers, says that drivers are investing between $100 to $200 in install the dividers.
Countries to maintain quarantine rule for travelers
Great Britain is the latest country to announce that it will require a 14-day quarantine for travelers entering the country after most Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The UK is the latest country to impose the post-emergency quarantine requirement. The EU and most countries in Asia and Latin America are also considering quarantines until a vaccine for the virus is developed. The tourism industry is protesting the UK move, saying it effectively blocks the majority of tourists from entering the country.
Ecuador oil revenue could drop 80%
Although international oil prices are off their April lows, they are still well below the $51 per barrel price used in calculating Ecuador’s 2020 national budget. According to Finance Minister Richard Martinez, government revenue from oil production could amount to 20 or 25 percent of the original estimate. “We have seen the lowest crude prices in more than 20 years and must adjust our expectation and our budgets accordingly. This will be a very painful process,” he says, he adding that “under a “very optimistic scenario” prices could average $25 per barrel in 2020.