Bogotá reopening from June 8

By Freek Huigen May 27, 2021

COVID restrictions will be lifted in less than two weeks as authorities try to respond to people’s needs.

Bogotá reopening last September -- things were different then.  Photo: Jared Wade
Bogotá reopening last September — things were different then. Photo: Jared Wade

Do you remember how it felt eight months ago when Bogotá reopened after the first peak? Well, it’s that time again. Though this time it’s different since fewer people stuck to the rules in the first place and we’re still in the midst of nationwide protests. Oh, and last time the COVID case numbers had fallen significantly.

But, open we will. Bogotá mayor Claudia López announced today that the capital will reopen from June 8. The reason? Economically, people are desperate and the restrictions are not helping. The mayor feels that it’s time to put people’s needs above the COVID restrictions.

“It sounds absolutely contradictory from an epidemiological point of view, to announce a reopening when ICU occupancy is at 97%,” she said. “But looking at the social, economic and political context – with deep institutional mistrust, unacceptable poverty and unemployment that is especially affecting women and young people – it is necessary to do so.”

The hope is that by June 8, the protests will have died down along with the case numbers.

Bogotá reopening: June 8

Here’s what will change:

  • The night curfew and ley seca will be lifted completely.
  • Bars and gastropubs can now open until 1am, but they’ll need to have biosecurity measures in place.
  • Schools, nurseries and universities will be able to fully open again.

Big events like football matches and concerts won’t restart until the numbers go down.

Why the new attitude?

A few days ago, López apologised to the young people of the city, saying she had not fully understood the “magnitude of their anguish and their claims.” She said that she understood people were more worried about hunger and unemployment than they were about COVID. 

According to Nicolás Uribe, from the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, “about 27% of young people in Bogotá neither study nor work; and there are about 585,000 young people for whom the business sector must build opportunities so that they can get ahead.”

The mayor has been recovering from contracting COVID herself and now wants to take steps to rebuild trust. Re-opening now is one of those steps.