Medellin Quarantine: Starting on March 20 at 7 pm, Medellin and Antioquia is quarantined. Movement of people and vehicles is prohibited until March 24 at 3 am to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Governor Aníbal Gaviria Correa of Antioquia and the mayor of Medellín Daniel Quintero confirmed on March 19 during a televised address the decree of a quarantine in the jurisdiction of Antioqua including Medellín between 7:00 pm on Friday, March 20 until 11:59 pm on Tuesday March 24.

During this quarantine or curfew, the movement of people and vehicles is prohibited, in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. People are ordered to stay home under quarantine for four days.

Mayor Quintero said:

This decision is made thinking of everyone, our grandparents, all citizens. It is a time of collective intelligence for the care of all.

On March 21, Colombia reached a total of 201 coronavirus cases with 20 cases in Medellín. Over 1,000 places in Medellín have been closed to eliminate locations where people congregate. This four-day quarantine in Medellín and Antioquia is another measure to minimize the public health threats posed by coronavirus in Colombia.

The quarantine is being done on a holiday weekend. Monday, March 23, is the Saint Joseph’s Day (Día de San José) holiday in Colombia.

On Friday, the day the quarantine starts, the grocery stores in Medellín are expected to be packed with people buying products. Over the past several days the grocery stores have been jam-packed in Medellín, with empty shelfs for some types of products such as toilet paper, milk, bleach and cleaning products.

However, there is a location in Medellín with four fully stocked grocery stores that were not very busy yesterday (read below).

Exceptions to the Quarantine Order

There are several exceptions to the quarantine order listed below:

  1. Members of the Public Force, Public Ministry including the Municipal Ombudsman, Civil Defense, Red Cross, Ombudsman, Fire Department, Relief Organizations, officials of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation and the authorities that carry out police functions.
  2. Vehicles and private security personnel and securities transport companies.
  3. All personnel working in the health sector. Also, ambulances, vehicles for home care of patients, distribution of medications and medical supplies at home.
  4. Any person who requires attention from a health service, their companion and those who are dedicated to the care and care of the elderly.
  5. Personnel working in the media.
  6. Airport operational and administrative personnel, pilots, crew and travelers who have departure or arrival flights at the José María Córdova (MDE) airport at the Rionegro, Olaya Herrera (EOH) in Medellín or the Antonio Roldan Betancur airport in Carepa, scheduled during the quarantine period.
  7. Vehicles and personnel of companies providing home public services, natural gas, telecommunications, call centers, contact centers, technical support centers and electronic commerce platforms and their contractors.
  8. Workers and staff of for infrastructure works and their road operators; or attention to social programs that must be executed or cannot be suspended.
  9. Taxis may transport people to and from the air terminals. Once the taxi has finished their work, they must return home.
  10. Also exempt from this measure are personnel of the Integrated Medellín Metro and Metroplús.
  11. Vehicles and personnel transport and supply food, hygiene and cleaning products, and supplies necessary for food production and agricultural activities.
  12. Industrial activities for the production of food, groceries, hygiene and cleaning products.
  13. Personnel and vehicles, owned by personnel working for companies and establishments in the health sector, that transport personnel and/or medical supplies which must carry identification.
  14. People who work in basic necessities shops, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.
  15. People who provide their services to companies or technological platforms dedicated to home delivery of food and pharmaceutical products, through motorcycles and bicycles.
  16. People and vehicles destined for funeral services.
  17. People who have to travel for agricultural and mining activities.
  18. People are permitted to take their pets out for a maximum of 20 minutes and in places near their residence, as well as people who work in veterinary emergencies and provide food to animals in a state of abandonment or confinement.
  19. People in rural areas that require supplies of food and hygiene and hygiene products.
  20. Personnel and vehicles that carry out the operation and logistics of the Medellín Lottery draw.
  21. Establishments and stores for food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, medical products, optics, orthopedic products, grooming and hygiene products, and pet food and medicine.
  22. The closure to the restaurants does not extend to the offer of their products through electronic commerce platforms and/or home delivery, nor to the restaurants located within hotel or hostel facilities, which may only provide service to guests.
  23. People responsible for operation of the critical and strategic infrastructure for Colombia, the departments, districts and municipalities.

At 1:36 am on March 21, the mayor of Medellín Daniel Quintero posted on Twitter a new decree that adds flexibility to the quarantine in Medellín:

Allow the transit of one inhabitant per family in order to buy food, toiletries, hygiene, pharmaceuticals and all those essential elements for isolation.

The designated family member for provisioning may use their own vehicles to move and transport supplies.

So, one person from a family during the quarantine in Medellín can go to grocery stores or pharmacies.

It is not known if at all other municipalities in the Aburrá valley will add this flexibility to the quarantine. However, we confirmed with the police in Sabaneta that one person per family in Sabaneta can now go to grocery store/pharmacy during the quarantine and I saw a big line on March 21 at the Merkepaisa grocery store near Parque Sabaneta.

Penalties of Not Complying with the Quarantine

Failure to comply with the provisions in the quarantine decree will result in the obligation of violators to carry out social activities for the prevention and care of the coronavirus for four hours.

Also, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect the lives of citizens, those who fail to comply with the isolation measure will be sanctioned with a penalty. Violators of the quarantine reportedly must pay a financial penalty of 936,323 pesos,

The decree also orders mayors and the police authorities put in place the necessary measures in their respective jurisdiction to comply with this decree.

Quarantines in Colombia Due to Coronavirus

Major cities in Colombia are undergoing quarantines over the Saint Joseph’s Day (Día de San José) holiday weekend in Colombia. So, up to about a third of Colombia is locked down:

  • Bogotá – Friday, March 20 at midnight until the end of Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm
  • Medellín and Antioquia – Friday, March 20 at 7 pm until Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 am (was originally 3 am but a new order extended this to March 24 at 11:59 pm)
  • Cali – Friday, March 20 at 10 pm until Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 am (was originally 4 am but a new order extended this to March 24 at 11:59 pm)
  • Cartagena – nightly curfews from 6 pm to 4 am and complete lockdowns on Saturday and Sunday (March 21 and 22) but a new order extended this to March 24 at 11:59 pm)
  • The provinces of Boyaca and Meta are shutting down in coordination with Bogotá authorities. And the Santander provide, including its capital Bucaramanga, will also shut down late on Friday.

Barranquilla is the only major city in Colombia without a planned quarantine over the Saint Joseph’s Day holiday.

Quarantine for all of Colombia from March 24 to August 1

EDITORS NOTE on July 9: Colombia is extending the national Colombia quarantine until August 1.

Colombia’s initial nationwide quarantine was originally ending on April 13 but it has now been extended seven times:

  1. On April 6, was extended to April 26
  2. On April 20, was extended to May 11.
  3. A third time was extended to May 25
  4. A fourth time was extended to May 31
  5. A fifth time was extended to June 30
  6. On June 23, was extended a sixth time to July 15
  7. On July 7, was extended a seventh time to August 1

So, the national quarantine is now for 129 days.

Also, President Duque tweeted that “Essential activities, such as access to health services, purchase of food and medicine, access to banking and postal services, provision of essential public services and security services, among others, will be guaranteed.” But no details yet, as no decree has been issued for the quarantine for all of Colombia.

The Minister of Agriculture, Rodolfo Enrique Zea, in the afternoon on March 21, assured worried people in Colombia that during the quarantine, “one person per family” will be able go out to the market to buy groceries.

Central Mayorista in Itagüí has four fully stocked grocery stores

Central Mayorista in Itagüí has four fully stocked grocery stores

Where to Buy Groceries to Prepare for the Quarantine?

Medellin Guru has a detailed guide to grocery shopping in Medellín. Over the past several days the grocery stores in Medellín have been packed with shoppers stocking up. And there are empty shelfs in many grocery stores in Medellín, particularly for some products like toilet paper.

On Friday before the quarantine starts at 7 pm, the grocery stores in Medellin will be packed with people. However, yesterday I found four grocery stores in Medellín that are fully stocked and did not have lines, which are located at Central Mayorista in Itagüí.

Mayorista is the most important agri-food supply center in northwestern Colombia. Approximately 15,000 people work in Mayorista with a total of about 1,500 merchants.

In addition, about 9,000 tons of food are offered there daily. Also, reportedly more than 60,000 people go there on a daily basis due to the competitive prices.

Central Mayorista is so big it has four grocery stores including Boom, Euro, Olímpico and Pacardyl. When I went to Mayorista yesterday, all four grocery stores were fully stocked with no empty shelves and the lines were short. There was not even a line for me to check out. Here are four photos from yesterday at grocery stores in Mayorista:

Toilet paper aisle fully stocked at a grocery story in Mayorista on March 19, 2020

Toilet paper aisle fully stocked at a grocery story in Mayorista on March 19, 2020

Bleach aisle fully stocked on March 19 at Mayorista

Bleach aisle fully stocked on March 19 at Mayorista

Milk aisle fully stocked at one of four grocery stores in Mayorista on March 19

Milk aisle fully stocked at one of four grocery stores in Mayorista on March 19

At the Euro grocery store in Mayorista on March 19, 2020, fully stocked

At the Euro grocery store in Mayorista on March 19, 2020, fully stocked

Also, these grocery stores have very fresh produce being located next to the largest food wholesale market in Antioquia.

It’s easy to get to Central Mayorista by using the Medellín Metro. This huge market is located in Itagüí. And it’s easy to get to as it is located about a short 5-minute walk from the Ayura metro station on Line A.

Starting on April 27, there is a Pico y Cedula system for the entire Aburrá Valley until June 21 reportedly including all 10 municipalities in the valley including Medellín, Envigado, Sabaneta, Itagüí, Bello, La Estrella, Caldas, Barbosa, Girardota and Copacabana.

The Pico y Cedula restriction applies for going to grocery shops, small tiendas, pharmacies and can also include banking and notary services. These restrictions started on March 25 until June 21 during the national Colombia quarantine. During this time, you are limited in the days and hours you can shop and use banks based on the last digit of your ID (cedula or passport).

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:

Autopista at Mayorca mall on March 21 during the quarantine, no cars

Autopista at Mayorca mall on March 21 during the quarantine, no cars

The Bottom Line: Medellín Quarantine Starts at 7 pm on March 20 for Four Days

Colombia is serious about putting in place proactive measures to minimize the public health threats posed by coronavirus in Colombia. Medellín is not the only large city in Colombia using a quarantine, there are also quarantines in Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena.

The grocery stores will be very busy on March 20 in Medellín but we identified four grocery stores in the Medellín metro that are fully stocked and were not busy on March 19.

In addition, Colombia added a nationwide quarantine initially from March 24 to April 13 that is now a national quarantine until July 15.

Stay home and stay safe!

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Editors note: updated on March 21, 2020 that the Mayor of Medellín has added flexibility to the quarantine and permits one person from a family during the quarantine in Medellín to go to grocery stores or pharmacies and confirmed that Sabaneta also has this flexibility. Also, added information about a new quarantine for all of Colombia from March 24 to April 13.

Editors note: updated on March 22, 2020 with information that the Medellín and Antioquia quarantine is now until March 24 at 11:59 pm and and the quarantines in Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena are also until March 24 at 11:59 pm.

Editors note: updated on May 3, 2020 with current information.

Editors note: updated on May 28, 2020 with information that the quarantine in Colombia has been extended to June 30.

Editors note: updated on June 24, 2020 with information that the quarantine in Colombia has been extended to July 15.

Editors note: updated on July 8, 2020 with information that the quarantine in Colombia has been extended to August 1.

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