Last week, Panama closed their borders to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The only people who can come in to Panama are Panamanians or foreigners who have a permanent residency Visa. And those who do come in must be in self-isolation for 14 days.
We’re not on total lockdown but everyone has been advised to stay home and practice self-isolation. That means you don’t invite friends or neighbors over or go walking around town. You can still go to the grocery store if necessary. There is a nationwide curfew from 9pm to 5am.
As of March 18th, Panama has 86 cases and 1 death due to the Covid-19 virus.
Movie theaters, bars, malls, gyms, museums, etc were ordered to close. There can be no social gathering so the Friday Panama Relocation Tours Alumni Happy Hours have been cancelled. Even beaches are closed to the public. All schools are closed.
Grocery stores are still open but only 50 people are allowed inside at any one time. No one is hoarding. There is still plenty of food and even toilet paper. Senior citizens get to go to the front of the line if there is one.
Pharmacies are still open too. Hardware stores are still open. Many workers are wearing masks and gloves and some shoppers are too. Masks are still for sale in pharmacies and hardware stores.
Restaurants that are still open can only offer take-out or home deliver service. No dine in service is allowed. Some restaurants have closed temporarily.
Yesterday, they put a ban on alcohol sales throughout Panama. People seem to be more upset over that than the virus. You cannot buy alcohol anywhere in Panama. I have one bottle of vinto tinto (red wine) which I’m saving for the day they announce the “all clear”!
We had to cancel Panama Relocation Tours through April 17. We hope it is resolved by then so we can resume tours. Most of those who had a tour cancelled switched to a tour later in the year before those dates are completely sold out! We’re still taking new reservations for 2020 and 2021 every day.
It all sounds drastic. And it is. We’re fighting an invisible enemy.