At the end of March, Panama placed everyone under quarantine and set a travel ban. As of mid-June, the country has slowly started to reopen.
Cafés and restaurants put away their many chairs and tables and now focus on offering delivery services and takeaway orders. Some stores––Do It Center, Novey, and Panafoto to name a few––also offer delivery and takeaway.
The New Normal
Shaking hands or kissing someone on the check when you meet, hugging your family and friends when they visit, hosting a large dinner party, huddling together for a group photo… during these COVID-19 times, these are all things we must refrain from doing until the pandemic is under control.
In Panama City, people are still under lockdown. Men and women are able to go out on alternating days and only for two hours at a time. Their time frame depends on the last number of their cédula or passport.
In the interior however, lockdown was lifted about a month ago. The streets are busy, but people keep their distance and are mindful of the situation.
Whenever someone enters a store or pharmacy, their temperature is taken and hand sanitizer is provided. It’s common to see lines of people waiting to enter a store. They are usually in and out fairly quickly, though.
Stores have several “mantenga su distancia – espere aqui” (keep your distance – wait here) stickers on the floor outside where people stand and inside indicating the cashier line.
Everyone must wear a mask at all times. Unlike some countries, wearing a mask is mandatory in Panama.
What’s To Come
The international airport is scheduled to reopen on July 23, more and more businesses will start opening up soon, and depending on the coronavirus spread in the city, lockdown will be lifted soon too.
The health ministry has strict guidelines which the airport and all businesses need to adopt in order to keep the virus spread under control. Panama is taking baby steps to allow everyone to return to their regular lives in the new normal.