Colombia is starting to lift the quarantine in COVID-19 free areas in Colombia. A total of 90 municipalities initially were given permission to lift the mandatory quarantine. Also, on May 21, over 100 COVID-19 free municipalities in Antioquia reportedly were given permission to lift the mandatory quarantine.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about COVID-19 free areas in Colombia. And we have confirmed that nearly 200 COVID-19 municipalities have been given permission to lift the quarantine.

On May 13, the Minister of the Interior, Alicia Arango, disclosed that 155 municipalities had initially requested the lifting of the mandatory quarantine, as they had no confirmed cases of coronavirus.

After the request, initially a total of 90 municipalities have been given permission to lift the quarantine, as long as there is a clear biosecurity protocol in place endorsed by the Ministry of Health. The initial COVID-19 free municipalities could reportedly start to lift the quarantine the week of May 18.

Not all of the names of the initial 90 COVID-19 free municipalities with permission to lift the quarantine have been disclosed. But here is a list of eight of the 90 COVID-19 free municipalities by department that were approved for lifting the quarantine:

  • Caldas: San José
  • Caquetá: Montañita
  • Córdoba: San Antero
  • Cundinamarca: Cáqueza and Carmen de Carupa
  • Guaviare: San José
  • Putumayo: Mocoa
  • Santander: El Socorro

The Ministry of the Interior did not disclose the entire list of where the quarantine will be lifted in Colombia yet, as this will provide the local governments time to socialize biosafety protocols for the municipalities.

Cispatá Bay at San Antero, photos by Jmorelodiaz

Cispatá Bay at San Antero, photos by Jmorelodiaz

San Antero – A COVID-19 Free Municipality

San Antero is one of the COVID-19 free municipalities in Colombia with permission to lift the quarantine. San Antero  is a coastal municipality in the Córdoba department with just over 23,000 inhabitants.

In this region, an important economic activity is tourism, which has been hit hard by the quarantine. The main economic activity in San Antero is agriculture, followed by livestock, fishing, commerce and tourism.

The major of San Antero, Lormandy Martínez Durán, explained that it is important to be able to take advantage of the exception of the quarantine to recover the economy in the area. “We want to reactivate the commercial part so that people have the opportunity to work,” said Martínez.

However, this does not mean that all the coronavirus measures will be relaxed in San Antero. The mayor explained that the pico y cedula restriction, which restricts shopping days to the last digit of an ID will remain. And there will still be as a curfew between 8 pm and 6 am as well as house-to-house visits to discuss the importance of hand washing and wearing face masks.

Over 100 Municipalities in Antioquia Permitted to Lift the Quarantine

On May 21, over 100 COVID-19 municipalities in Antioquia reportedly were also given permission to lift the mandatory quarantine. But none of these municipalities are located in the Aburrá Valley.

Each of the mayors of these municipalities must decide whether to accept the proposal and issue an administrative act authorizing the reopening of establishments and companies, except for the following:

  1. Events of a public or private nature that involve crowding of people.
  2. Leisure and amusement, dance, leisure and entertainment and gaming and betting establishments and commercial premises such as casinos, bingos and video game terminals.
  3. Gastronomic establishments and establishments will be closed and will only be able to offer their products through electronic commerce, home delivery or take-out delivery.
  4. Gyms, swimming pools, sports fields, sports centers, mechanical amusement parks and playgrounds.
  5. Sports practice and group exercise in public parks and recreation areas, contact sports or practiced together.

Luis Fernando Suárez, Secretary of Government of Antioquia, said that this is the result of a request made by Antioquia Governor Aníbal Gaviria to the Ministry of the Interior.

The draft delivered to the mayors of the municipalities proposes to maintain the protection and prevention measures and implement pico y cedula to control purchases and bank transactions, permitting only one person per family to leave for those tasks.

Also, restaurants can open but only to provide home delivery or to sell products for take away. Restaurants are not allowed to have tables and consumption on site.

Other sectors such as hairdressing salons and car washes should also have special hours. The proposal is to allow them to operate from Monday to Saturday starting at 6:00 am in shifts to serve one client at a time and avoid crowds.

In addition, it was proposed that each mayor in Antioquia enact a curfew between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am while the emergency lasts, and that a prohibition of liquor consumption in commercial establishments is maintained.

Furthermore, 22 health checkpoints were implemented on the main routes of entry to the subregions in the Antioquia department, with the aim of avoiding contagion from other areas of the country or from the Aburrá Valley.

COVID-19 Free Municipalities – Requirements to Lift the Quarantine

COVID-19 free municipalities in Colombia are permitted to lift the quarantine with most economic opening permitted, with some some exceptions such as billiards, casinos and discotheques, churches, parks, gyms and sporting events.

This lifting the quarantine will only apply if the mayor of a municipality expressly requests the Ministry of the Interior to reopen the sectors or activities that the mayor deems pertinent and has prior certification from the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) in this regard.

To guarantee that the municipalities remain uncontaminated, the local authorities must implement biosecurity measures at their borders.

Once the existence of a case of coronavirus in a municipality by the INS is certified, the opening of economic sectors carried out should be automatically restricted and the quarantine reestablished in general for the affected municipality. So, municipalities in Colombia that lift the quarantine need to remain virus free.

COVID-19 Free Municipalities in Colombia

On June 14, Medellin Guru reviewed a list of 1,099 municipalities in Colombia and found over 600 municipalities did not have a single coronavirus case reported.

So far, not all of the over 600 municipalities in Colombia that are COVID-19 free have submitted requests to the Ministry of the Interior to lift the quarantine.

In addition, on June 14, there there were over 90 cities and towns in Colombia with at least one reported coronavirus case, which haven’t experienced a new case in over two weeks. These over 90 cities without a coronavirus case in over two weeks have over 8 percent of the population of Colombia.

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: Colombia Starts to Lift the Quarantine in COVID-19 Free Areas

When we published an article about lifting the quarantine in Colombia on April 17, we hoped that Colombia should consider that over one-third of the population in Colombia lives in municipalities that don’t have any coronavirus cases reported or haven’t reported a new case in over two weeks.

These municipalities without any cases don’t need the more stringent restrictions that are put in place in Bogotá, which has the highest rate of coronavirus cases in Colombia.

Now Colombia is starting to lift the quarantine in COVID-19 free cities and towns, which means that over one-third of the population in Colombia can potentially start to return to a more normal life.

But mayors of these cities and towns need to request permission to lift the quarantine. Not all out of over 800 COVID-19 free municipalities in Colombia have made this request. But we expect that many more municipalities will submit requests.

What about the other cities and towns in Colombia with a presence of coronavirus?

We expect the quarantine in Colombia will continue to be slowly lifted with additional sectors permitted to work. However, some areas of Colombia that are experiencing a major outbreak of coronavirus cases will likely continue to have more stringent controls in place.

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Editors note: updated on May 21, 2020 with information that over 100 municipalities in Antioquia have been given permission to lift the quarantine.

Editors note: updated on May 24, 2020 with updated information about municipalities in Colombia without a coronavirus case.

Editors note: updated on May 30, 2020 with updated information about municipalities in Colombia without a coronavirus case.

Editors note: updated on June 15, 2020 with updated information about municipalities in Colombia without a coronavirus case.

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