Vendors defy stay-at-home rules, Construction work to restart, Un-empounding towed away cars, Emergency supply shipments, Canastas

Apr 22, 2020 | 25 comments

Martes, 21/4/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Otras cosas –

Titular – Precio del petróleo por los suelos (Oil price down to the ground) – See Tuesday’s CHL for the story.

Health controls not working in Cuenca – In spite of the city wide quarantine, there is more movement in Narancay than before the quarantine. This is repeated in the Centro Histórico, bank zones, and sites of ferias. According to Mayor Palacios, since the beginning of the quarantine, 1,900 people have been sanctioned for not complying with restrictions but fear of fines doesn’t seem to reflected in the streets which are full in the mornings. The mayor said the first sanctions to be looked at in the bio-security ordinance will start to be applied today. Small businesses have also started up again. In the 9 de Octubre sector, clothings stores, “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants, hairdressers and bazaars with toys and home decorations have all reopened. This week, the police closed cantinas that were operating normally in the El Arenal sector.

Vendors and shoppers crowd the streets during non-curfew hours near the Nueve de Octubre market. (El Mercurio)

Xavier Martínez, the governor of Azuay, said that he understood the need for people to start working again, but the return to normal should be slow and under an orderly process. He said he is in discussions with national authorities to see about Cuenca reducing the hours of curfew and gradually and slowly getting commerce and industry back. Meanwhile, restrictions on movement and social distancing are in effect with sanctions for not observing them. The fine is $100 for not complying with a social distance of 1.50 meters while in lines, not wearing a mask, or selling masks in the street. Drivers out without a salvoconducto <I’m assuming not on your day to drive or during the curfew hours)> and stores not offering alcohol or hand sanitizer face a fine of $200. Transport vehicles that aren’t fumigated will pay a fine of $400. <For you grammar police, the owners will pay, not the vehicles.>

Statistics – 10 of the 15 cantons in Azuay have coronavirus patients.
34 patients have died in hospitals in Azuay according to the Coordinación de Salud.
234 cases in Azuay with 201 in Cuenca.
409 confirmed cases in Zone 6 with 145 in Cañar and 30 in Morona Santiago.

Pilot project to restart construction – A pilot project to see if construction can reactivate, started today in Cuenca with one construction company on one project. If it is successful, then construction in general could restart in 15 days. Currently both private and public projects are shut down, ferreterías (hardware stores – your word for the day) are closed and contracts for labor are restricted. The president of the Cámara de la Construcción de Cuenca pointed out that this sector can’t telecommute, can’t make up lost hours, and can’t sustain itself without working in person. The only sector able to work besides businesses dedicated to essential products are auto workshops that service vehicles in the first line of defense against the coronavirus. <And probably your mechanic if it’s something he can come to your house to do.>

Urgent importation of medical supplies – The government is analyzing the option of using the presidential Legacy 600 aircraft with a 13 passenger capacity to bring urgently needed medical supplies from other countries. Canciller (Secretary of State) José Valencia wrote to the secretary general of the UN to include Ecuador in the global aid fund for humanitarian assistance. The minister of Foreign Relations listed segments of the population of Ecuadorians stranded overseas who will have priority for repatriation including entire families, people in extreme socio-economic need “que están sin medio centavo en el bolsillo” (without a half penny in their pocket). The first phase of repatriation were minors under 18, children and adolescents living alone overseas, pregnant women, elderly, disabled, and people with catastrophic diseases. As of 23/3, there were 8,000 Ecuadorians who wanted to return. 2,400 have come home and 5,600 are waiting.

Reopening of El Arenal market not set – Mayor Palacios announced that it’s not definite if the estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar will be used as a temporary mercado. It is one 15 to 20 options. El Arenal (Feria Libre), the main supply center for the city was closed for disinfection el 6/4 and the vendors have scattered to other locations, mainly the plataforma de Narancay. Narancay was intended to house the wholesale market, but with the arrival of retail vendors, the area experienced problems with disorder, unhealthy conditions, insecurity and traffic congestion. Neighbors say that various street closures are necessary to restrict access to the zone and avoid having it become a mercado. Other locations such as the courtyards at schools are being considered since there is no definite reopening date for El Arenal. The municipality is also looking at spaces in parishes where vendors can relocate to avoid creating crowds at one site. Another possibility is relocating the wholesalers to the Ecoparque de Chaullayacu in Tarqui. <It seems the only people who haven’t relocated from El Arenal are the drunks.>

Respiradores artificiales (artificial respirators/ventilators?) – The Universidad Politécnica Salisiana (UPS) has a project to make ventilators for Covid-19 patients from plans approved by the U. of Ferrara in Italy and another U. in Austria. A prototype is ready and the U. is waiting for an agreement with the Ministerio de Salud Pública (MSP) to start fabrication. Since the start of the health emergency, the UPS has been making masks for health workers. They have fifteen 3D printers and can make 150 masks a day. <A lot of ingenuity and “can do” spirit since Ecuador isn’t a rich country that can compete for these things in an international market.>

Salvoconductos – If you need a new salvoconducto permit to replace the ones expiring this week, go to or If you have been sanctioned for misuse of a salvoconducto, you’re not getting another one. The new salvoconductos require more information such as authorized routes and other data that will be checked with the records in the SRI and Registro Civil.

Un-impounding your car – If your car was impounded for violations of health emergency restrictions as well as violations from before the lock down, you can get it back after 5 days. <Running out of room at the impound lots?> EMOV has opened its offices in Misicata and the parque De La Madre from 8-12:00 so you can pay fines. To pay in cash, go on the day that you are allowed to drive. Or you can pay from home with a credit or debit card at

“Panama” hat weavers – The canton of Azogues is helping some 150 families whose income is from weaving sombreros de paja toquilla. The municipality is buying the straw, delivering it to the weavers’ houses so they don’t have to go out, and charging them the market price. When the hats are ready, the city is trying to find markets for the hats or will buy the hats and resell them later. This crafts sector is 80% women, many of whom are heads of households. It is a project of the departamento de Desarrollo Comunitario del Gobierno Municipal (Department of Community Development of the Municipal Government) and if you’re interested in buying hats, you can contact Manuel Rojas at 099 902 3156 or Samuel Huertas at 099 849 5930. The value of the hats is between $8-10 depending on the quality.

Canastas populares – Agrokawsay, a business of Azuay province, has entered the interprovincial market with the sale of 1,000 baskets of agro-ecological products to the canton of El Guabo in El Oro. It’s part of a plan for commercial exchange of products between the Costa and the Sierra. The baskets went to residents who can’t get products from the Sierra since many local mercados are closed due to the quarantine. <Is this the start of a presidential run for Pérez? Getting name recognition in adjoining provinces?>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –


Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper. The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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