Gender-based restrictions start again today in Panama, with men and women allowed out shopping on alternate days. Panama is also extending its Christmas and New Years lockdowns.
Last week, Panama announced a series of new restrictions over the Christmas holidays to curve the spread of COVID-19. At a press conference, Health Minister Luis Sucre said Panama would go into curfew between December 18 and January 4, with full lockdowns covering Christmas Day and New Years.
Since then, the government has amended its ruling to include the gender-based shopping mandate and expand the full lockdown dates over Christmas and New Years.
— CentralAmericaLiving (@VidaAmerica) December 16, 2020
There’s been some confusion on social media about what the gender-based restrictions mean.
Earlier on in the pandemic, during the peak of Panama’s lockdown, men and women could only leave their homes on separate days. On their specified days, they had a set time they could be outside, based on the final number of their identity documents.
This new mandate is nothing like this, nowhere nearly as restrictive.
Men and women can leave the house at the same time outside the 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew hours. But they can’t go into stores together. Supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware stores, whatever, shopping is now limited to women one day, men the next.
Les recordamos las medidas establecidas a partir de mañana, lunes 21 de diciembre, en busca de proteger la vida de todos los panameños.
— Presidencia de Panamá (@presidenciapma) December 20, 2020
From today, women can shop on December 21 (today), December 23, December 28, and December 30. Men can shop on December 22, December 24, December 29, and December 31.
The official line is that these restrictions are for shopping only. In theory, banks and restaurants can accept both men and women at the same time. But people should be prepared for businesses interpreting these rules their own way.
From 7:00 PM on December 24 to 5:00 AM December 28, Panama will be under full lockdown with no one allowed out at all. Ditto 7:00 PM December 31 to 5:00 AM January 4.
These lockdown times have changed slightly from the original announcement last week.
Beaches and rivers will close on December 23, reopening on January 4.
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.