(Updated September 5th)
FINALLY we have some dates!!
Tuesday, August 25, the National Government announced the new dates of the national reopening plan based on health indicators against COVID-19. The number of new cases and number of deaths has been going down recently!
Panama will reopen the construction industry and related activities such as engineers, architects, project managers, contractors, moving and hauling services. They will also open free zones such as the Panama Pacific Special Economic Area and the Colon Free Zone, as well as tailors, dressmakers, shoe stores and car washes.
On September 14, the mobility restriction will be lifted but a curfew from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am will be required.
On September 21 sports activities will be reopened, but without public spectators.
On September 28, retail stores open with in-person shopping, restaurants will open with in-person dining (no restrictions mentioned), professional services, administrative and general services, domestic flights, family activities on the beach, rivers and natural parks, and the racetrack without the public.
On October 12, the curfew will be lifted! International flights can resume, hotels, motels, rural hostels, lodging sites and complementary services, tourist activities, non-essential transport (recreational and tourist), creative and cultural industries, music and art academies, libraries, swimming pools, and the National Charity Lottery.
With the PanamaPlan to reopen economic activities, the authorities emphasize that businesses must operate in strict compliance with the security measures established by the Ministry of Health.
The government of Panama has a few caveats in place in order to keep the October 12th reopening date. They will only reopen on that date IF, hospital beds are only at 20% occupancy, the respiratory care unit is only at 15% capacity, and the death rate is under 3% (it is currently at 2.2%).
If those above criteria determined by the Ministry of Health are not met, Panama will once again push back the reopening of the country.
WHAT WE DO KNOW…
Panama still has very strict mask requirements in place and plans to keep the regulations during reopening. Any person in public spaces without a proper mask covering both nose and mouth can be detained and/or fined. When you enter a store you will be required to step in a disinfectant, use hand sanitizer or alcohol which they provide and they will take your temperature before you can enter. If your temperature is high, they will not let you in.
NEW COVID TEST RULES- On September 4th, Panama issued new guidelines for anyone coming in to Panama. To get on the plane and to come in to Panama, you will be required to show a negative Covid PCR or antigen test that is not more than 96 hours old. The new directive does not mention a quarantine requirement.
Panama will also take your temperature when arriving and it must be less than 37c (98.6f) to enter the country. You cannot have any signs of being sick, like coughing, sneezing, fever to enter Panama.
Something that you need to be aware of, if there is a spike in Covid cases after Panama opens their borders, they could shut down the country again. So, my recommendation is to wait for a few weeks after the borders open before planning a trip to Panama.
CAN YOU MOVE TO PANAMA?
If you’re planning to MOVE to Panama, you should start getting your paperwork ready to get a Visa and contact/hire an immigration attorney. You may want to wait until November or December to move to Panama to see if there are any changes after October 12th.
Our Online Panama Relocation Guide has recommendations for reliable immigration lawyers, lists of paperwork that you’ll need to get a Visa, details about apostile and authentications of documents and honest real estate agents/property managers to help you find a rental. The Online Guide contains other important information that you need to know to relocate to Panama.
If you just want to come to VISIT Panama, we would suggest that you wait until December when more businesses will be open and there is less rain. Traditionally, October and November are very rainy months. The Online Panama Relocation Guide will have information about how to plan a self-guided tour in Panama and include where to stay, who to contact to show you rentals, popular places, shopping and much more.
I will keep you informed as I get more information.
This is good news! At least we have a date… finally!