Warning Alert


Panama to lift COVID-19 Sunday lockdowns from Oct. 25, but nationwide 2300-0500 daily curfew remains; beaches to reopen Oct. 24.

 

Summary
Authorities in Panama will remove the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related Sunday lockdown from Oct. 25, and further relax restrictions on recreational activities. The 2300-0500 curfew, however, will be enforced nationwide Monday-Sunday, without regional variation. This easing of measures forms part of the nation's COVID-19 recovery plan and follows the reopening of the country's borders to tourism Oct. 12.

Domestic Recovery Measures
Effective Oct. 24, beaches and rivers will be permitted to reopen nationwide. Visits are allowed 0600-1600 with family groups no larger than seven people. The entry of food and alcoholic beverages is prohibited; consumption is only permitted in restaurants and inns in the area.

In line with the country's tourism recovery plan, hotels, motels, and other lodging and accommodation services resumed operations Oct. 12. Tourism activities, nonessential transportation, creative and cultural sectors may continue, and music, art and dance academies, libraries, and casinos may reopen. Swimming pools may open at 25 percent capacity, while cinemas, theaters, museums, galleries, and indoor tourist sites may operate at 50 percent.

These permitted activities are in addition to previously authorized commercial activities that have gradually resumed since the government launched Phase 1 of its reopening plan May 13. All businesses are required to comply with strict sanitation, hygiene, and social distancing protocols, including ensuring that staff and customers use protective facemasks and maintain at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) between each other. In July, officials staggered the start times for operating hours; private-sector employees are required to enter their workplace by no later than 0800, while public-sector employees are required to enter by 0900. Religious sites, parks, social areas, and sporting areas may operate at 25-percent capacity. Social and festive group activities, as well as beach visits and contact sports, remain restricted.

International Travel
Panama's borders have reopened to all travelers, including Panamanian citizens, residents, and nonresident foreign nationals, as of Oct. 12, following an extended closure of all ports of entry in March. Arriving passengers will be subject to enhanced health screenings at all airports. All travelers must present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen test taken within 48 hours before arrival, or be subject to testing at the airport. If the test is negative, no quarantine will be required; however, the traveler will be required to quarantine at a government-approved location if the test is positive. A second test will be taken after seven days of quarantine; if it is positive, the traveler will be required to complete an additional seven days of quarantine.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks. Highly targeted localized measures could be enforced in provinces or local communities with higher disease activity.

 

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements and business appointments. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 

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