The National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) agreed Tuesday to allow vaccinated workers who interact with the public to return to their jobs Thursday, July 1. The decision affects more than half of the public workforce, from the national to parish level, but also applies to some private business employees that have remained under special restrictions.
Most of the workers affected have not been to their offices since March 2020.
The COE said returning workers must show proof that they received the second dose of their vaccination 14 days earlier. It also said that employees who received a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson and CanSino, will be considered for return on a case-by-case basis. An estimated 70,000 Ecuadorians have traveled to the U.S. for vaccinations, most of them for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson.
Minister of Labor Patricio Donoso said the country is making impressive progress in its vaccination program and says it is time to begin the process of normalization. “Ecuadorian workers as well as businesses have suffered greatly over the last 16 months due to the health restrictions required by the Covid-19 pandemic and we are beginning the process of restoring the face-to-face services the public requires,” he said.
Health Minister Ximena Garzón said that public and private offices welcoming back vaccinated employees will be monitored closely to make sure there are no outbreaks of the Covid virus. “We have examined the data and feel comfortable allowing vaccinated employees to interact with the public once again,” she said. “The vaccines have proven remarkably effective and the fact that the workers are protected will also protect the public.”
Many employees considered to provide essential services have been back at work since the middle of 2020.