Bogotá quarantine: Teusaquillo Stories

By bogotapost April 6, 2020

How is the national quarantine affecting your barrio? We’ve been talking to people all over the city, with today Teusaquillo.

Quarantine in Teusaquillo
Photo: Oli Pritchard

Our novel coronavirus expert Steve Hide reports that with the coronavirus quarantine, La Soledad is even lonelier than the ‘solitude’ its name suggests, with empty streets and its leafy Parkway – never a bustling avenida even at the best of times – reduced to a handful to dog walkers and Rappi riders. A few cyclists are being stopped and questioned. But life goes on. If you look carefully some small businesses are still attending essential services, such as vets, papelerias, corner shops and many cafés are doing take outs or domicilios.

Street people and informal vendors congregate around the popular Carulla supermarket on Parkway, so bring small change or buy extra food if you want to help them. Carulla operates a preferential hour’s slot – 7am to 8.30am – for the elderly or incapacitated. Just as we heard from people quarantined in Usaquen, outside these hours there are usually long queues, so allow up to an hour to do your shopping. The large Colsubisidio supermarket nearby on Avenida 26 is also fully stocked and usually much emptier, and there are also corner food shops with good stock.

Read our latest coverage on the coronavirus in Colombia

Security is always a concern during the Teusaquillo quarantine. It’s an area that’s walkable from downtown, and the empty backstreets with zero footfall potential have become likely mugging sites if you wander off the main streets. We have heard reports of people being attacked for their cell-phones.

Police patrol the areas and sometimes check people to verify why they are out on the street. Many locals say they’re avoiding going out early and late. People are sticking to the main routes and closer shops and just taking cash or a bank card for their shops.

That’s a story we’ve heard again and again – most of our readers and writers in Teusaquillo’s quarantine seem to be worried about the safety on the streets. Many people report not leaving their apartments or conjuntos. Martin Higgins says that people in his neighbourhood have been whistling from the windows when they see suspicious people on the street. Daniel Aguilar says he hasn’t had to leave his conjunto yet, but there are very few people outside in his area close to the Universidad Nacional.

“All very quiet. You know I’m in a quiet area, now it’s fucking quiet.”

Rainier Latchu

Longtime reader Rainier Latchu lives between Parkway and Séptima. He says there are odd people walking around, usually crossing the area, heading from the Parkway environs and heading towards Caracas & Séptima. He lives near a school and a church, both of which are quiet. “All very quiet. You know I’m in a quiet area, now it’s fucking quiet. No school, no funerals. But I’m wondering what is happening to the average of four funerals per day. Are the bodies in chill mode? Is padre doing the services at the cremation site?” Answers we don’t have. In this brave new Bogotá, there is only uncertainty. 

As the government decree that TransMilenio riders have to wear face masks, expect to see more masked people from your windows. Tomorrow we’ll be reporting from the centre and later in the week we’ll visit the outer suburbs of Suba and Bosa.

And if you’re at home and looking for entertainment, check out some of the ways that Colombian performers are switching to streaming performances.

How is the quarantine affecting you? If you’re living in Colombia, email us or use the comments below or on our facebook page.