When you hear someone complaining about the change in restrictions in Costa Rica beginning Dec 31st, remember things could be worse--- you could be in Panama.
Earlier this week Panama announced tougher measures, and a "total quarantine" for the province of Panama, which includes the capital, Panama City, and the adjacent province of West Panama.
The quarantine measures in Panama nationally have been based on gender. Women can enter a store or business on Monday and Wednesday and men on Tuesday and Thursday. Stores close at 5pm and a curfew is imposed at 7pm.
This gender based quarantine schedule began back in April 2020, and was rescinded on June 1st, and replaced with a blanket curfew from 7pm to 5am. The change was in part due to complaints from Human Rights Watch regarding the discriminatory impacts the gender based quarantine measures had on transgender people.
Observers could note that the quarantine rules were discriminatory to everyone, being based on gender, but that was considered acceptable in Panama.
Under the new measures. anyone could leave their home during permitted times so long as they use a protective mask and maintain a distance of 2 meters from other persons.
On June 8th, the government reinstated the gender based quarantine in the provinces of Panama and West Panama, in an attempt to deter the rising number of Covid-19 cases in those provinces.
Within the new measures the government urged the police and security agencies to avoid discrimination towards transgender people, allowing transgender people to comply with quaratine rules in accordance with their gender identity.
Beginning on December 31st, a total quarantine has been declared throughout the country until January 4th, in the new year. The quaratine is from 7pm, Dec 31st until 5am, January 4th. From January 4th, the quaratine will continue only in Panama and West Panama provinces.
People are allowed to leave their homes only to purchase food or medicine, again based on days allowed by gender, for the duration of the quarantine.
The international airport in Panama City (PTY) will remain open, in case you were thinking of visiting for the new year.