Quarantine in Manizales, Colombia

The other day I shared a photo about quarantine in Colombia, and was surprised by the responses I got, so I decided to talk a little more about the situation here in Manizales. Each department (Colombia’s equivalent to states) has their own set of rules to follow, but they are all very similar to one another.

Here’s the details:

On March 16, 2020, the president of Colombia put the entire country on lockdown. That means that anyone over the age of 60 or under the age of 18 is absolutely not allowed out of the house. If you are caught breaking these quarantine rules, you can be fined a minimum of $300 USD, which for an average Colombian is likely more than their monthly salary! Here is an article with more information. 

Those of us who do not fall into that under 18 or over 60 category are allowed to leave one day a week, based on our ID numbers. On the day that you are allowed out of the house, it’s only from 8-2 to do grocery shopping, doctor visits or banking. No unnecessary errands are allowed, and only one person can be in the car (or on the streets) at a time. People with dogs are allowed out for 20 minutes to walk them in the neighborhood. How I wish we had a dog right now!

When you do leave the house, you are required to wear a mask, and the aforementioned establishments are practicing social distancing measures and making sure you are out of the house on the right day, again based on the last number of your ID. On a recent visit to Home Center (similar to Home Depot), Andres had his temperature taken as well as some questions asked about his health before he was even able to enter the store.

That said, I have been cooped up in our 600 square foot apartment for more than two months.

It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t going a lil crazy, but aren’t we all? This is the first time in my life that I have prepared two months of meals, and not eaten in a restaurant. Having worked in that industry for half my life, I am used to eating out close to five times a week! We have only ordered delivery three times, so I am pretty proud of us. Luckily we both enjoy cooking!

I am grateful that I have such a supportive and patient partner, and that we are able to continue working online. We are  definitely fortunate to have the support of my family and friends, near and far. The view of the volcano out of our window is amazing, and my little patio is full of succulents. Mostly, this whole crisis has made me realize what (and who) is most important to me in life. I can not wait to start traveling again, and have my friends come down to Colombia for more adventures. However I am also patient, as I know that we are nowhere near the end of this thing yet.

Unfortunately, despite the harsh social distancing measures (read Marshall Law), Colombia’s numbers of Covid-19 are rising quickly. I fear that the system here is not equipped to deal with the surge of patients, and I am left wondering what is next. On May 25th, we are supposed to have some sort of an update on what is next. Will the economy slowly reopen? Will we be allowed out of our houses? Only time will tell…

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