Bogotá’s latest red alert: new restrictions in the capital

By Freek Huigen April 26, 2021

With hospitals reaching capacity, the mayor has announced a new clampdown in the capital. Here are the latest Bogotá restrictions. 

Bogotá COVID restrictions: If the latest measures are enforced, playgrounds may be empty this Saturday.

After last week’s warning that we’d see stricter measures if ICU occupancy rose above 90%, it’s hardly surprising authorities have brought in new Bogotá restrictions. What is surprising is that they are looser than predicted.

Speaking yesterday, Bogotá mayor Claudia López said that we’ve reached 91% emergency ward occupation. She added that this is the first time since last April that we’ve faced the possibility of hospital collapse.

The concern is that if the rate of infection and hospitalisation doesn’t slow, hospitals will have to turn people away. On average, there are 225 requests for COVID ICU beds each day, and a further 150 requests for non-COVID ICU beds.

What are the new Bogotá restrictions?

From now until May 9, all commercial establishments, whether essential or not, must close by 7pm so people can be home by 8pm. That includes supermarkets and restaurants, but health workers and transport services will be exempt.

Read all coverage about the coronavirus in Colombia

The idea is to have no people in the street between 8pm and 4am each night.

In addition:

  • Ley Seca will be in place until May 9. That means you won’t be allowed to buy alcohol in person from stores, bars, or tiendas. You can, however, order it by domicilio and get it delivered.
  • Schools, universities, and kindergartens that had begun to reopen will be closed again. Classes will have to take place remotely for at least two weeks.
  • The Friday to Sunday shutdown remains in place, so we’ll see total lockdown again this weekend from Thursday at 11.59pm to Monday at 4am. Ciclovia will not take place this Sunday, but parks will open. According to the mayor’s office, parks will only be open on Sunday. You can still exercise for an hour each day and walk pets.
  • You’ll be able to order home delivery from restaurants until 10pm, but domicilios will not be allowed to work later than that. Pico y cédula is not ending anytime soon either. Cédulas ending in an even number (2,4,6,8,0) can shop on odd-numbered days (1,3,5,7,9) and vice versa.

Vaccination in Colombia continues, but it’s not going to make a dent in the COVID numbers any time soon. Bogotá has given out over 840,000 vaccines to date. Of those, around 630,000 were first doses and 210,000 were second doses.

Protests and gatherings

There’ve been a number of protests in recent months — in part due to the COVID controls and in part due to the economic situation faced by many. And of course, the unpopular tax reforms.

Related: Can I get my vaccine yet? What is going on with vaccination in Colombia

López specifically spoke against protests and said they would be banned to slow the spread. Moreover, she warned they were putting lives at risk. “The marches and gatherings are an attempt on people’s lives,” she said.

Travel plans

If you have a flight booked in the coming weeks, you’ll be able to get to the airport for domestic or international flights. Just make sure you have your ticket handy in case you are stopped.

The mayor says there will be controls at the border with Cundinamarca, and people will only be allowed to cross in cases of extreme necessity. Whether — and how — such departmental controls will be enforced is another story. 

Indeed, as with many of these restrictions, it remains to be seen whether people will follow them, and whether police will act against those who don’t. Many bogotanos have become almost numb to the danger of COVID, and need to put food on the table. As we heard people say at the start of the pandemic, people would rather die from the virus than hunge