Three months ago the Bocas Breeze editorial staff could never imagine a headline that dealt with men shopping or not shopping on the weekend, but nonetheless, in the spirit of the “new normal,” we report that on Saturday, May 16 men will be able to leave their residences and shop for the two hours that correspond to the personal ID. This is after five consecutive Saturdays in which the entire nation was subjected to the “absolute quarantine,” where neither men or women could lawfully leave their homes without a special permission or having an medical emergency. The news about this Saturday was reported by the Ministry of Health on Twitter earlier today.
The original terms of the quarantine were established in the executive decree 507 of March 24, where women could leave Monday, Wednesday and Friday, to shop for two hours depending on the last number of their personal ID, and men on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sunday, since the decree was passed, has been a day of complete mobility restrictions, or “absolute quarantine.” After the first Saturday of the quarantine, the central government issued a decree calling for weekend of April 11 and 12 to be an extended absolute quarantine in observance of the 2020 Easter weekend, encouraging the general population to “stay at home with the family.”
Every Saturday since then has been “absolute quarantine,” so effectively men have only been able to leave their homes on Tuesdays and Thursdays; that is, without running the risk of being fined for violating the quarantine. When justifying the absolute quarantine weekends MINSA would cite that men had significantly higher infection rates of COVID-19 and, according to the Ministry of Security, were the ones caught the most violating the quarantine restrictions. The Saturday absolute quarantine had never been permanently installed as the official norm and the Ministry of Health would wait until every Thursday to confirm it in a press conference announcement. This Thursday was a different story: “We announce to the citizens that this Saturday May 16 men may transit based on the number of their personal ID.”