Panama Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre held a press conference on December 27th, 2020 announcing new restrictions for the first two weeks of January 2021. Most of the announcements were specific to the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste, however there was one mention of another total quarantine that is being added for January 9 and 10, which will affect Bocas del Toro.
Total quarantine (no movement allowed) on January 9 and January 10 in all of Panama, including Bocas del Toro.
There will be no movement permitted by the general public in Panama on January 9 and 10, unless it is an emergency, or a visitor that has a flight or hotel reservation scheduled. As previously announced, there is also a nationwide total quarantine from December 31 at 7pm, lasting until January 4 at 5am, with no movement outside of your residence is permitted on Jan 1, Jan 2 and Jan 3.
There will be transportation professionals permitted to move during the days of total quarantine and visitors are instructed to present their flight ticket, itinerary and hotel reservations if stopped by the authorities. For example, if you have a flight scheduled for January 8, you will be able to travel to the airport. More information and tips on the holiday restrictions can be found in this article: “Bocas del Toro Christmas and New Years Travel and COVID Rules 2020-2021.”
Shopping Restrictions for Gender and Personal ID in the Provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste Only (Not Bocas del Toro)
The provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste have the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the country and for that reason the Ministry of Health has imposed even stricter measures.
From January 4-14, in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste, shopping will be done on alternating days according to gender and the time of day which you can shop corresponds to the last digit on your personal identification. Women may shop on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where men are allowed to shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every person has a two-hour window based on the last digit of their personal identification card, which is the state issued cedula for Panamanian nationals and the passport for tourists and foreign residents. For example, if your ID card ends in 3, your shopping time is at 3pm. You may circulate between 2:30pm and 4:30pm, and only to purchase groceries, medicines and other “essential supplies.” This measure had been taken nationwide earlier in the pandemic, however now it will only apply to the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste.
For Bocas del Toro, and every other province, the curfew will remain 7pm-5am on January 4, and until further notice. The gender and personal ID restrictions announced for the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces do not apply to Bocas del Toro.
However in Bocas del Toro and nationwide, as previously announced, for the week of December 28-December 31, there will be alternating shopping days based on sex: women on Monday December 28 and Wednesday December 30 and men on December 29 and December 31. It was not mentioned whether the alternating days would continue in Bocas del Toro after December 31. Also not mentioned was whether or not the beaches would open again again after January 4, 2021.
Nationwide total quarantine days are Jan 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10.
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