Havana, Cuba Curfew Lifted, Some Transport Restored

The main reason given is the weak economy.

Havana photo by Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government decided Wednesday to end a curfew and restrictions on movement within Havana. However it will maintain curbs on entering and leaving the capital zone.

“We have to take care of ourselves a little more in our homes and workplaces,” Havana governor Reinaldo Zapata said in a speech broadcast on national television.

He said that the weakness of the economy led officials to ease up on the measures taken in September, noted dpa news.

Cubans were already suffering from acute shortages of basic products and extremely low wages and pensions before the coronavirus.  Furthermore, the quality of social services including health care, with chronic medicine shortages, already existed before the pandemic.

Under the new loosening, beaches and swimming pools are being reopened, although with a capacity limited to 30 per cent. The already deficient public transport will return to work in Havana at 80 per cent of normal passenger capacity.

Havana residents can now move between the capital’s 15 municipalities.  This means people in one municipality can move to another to get in the lines to buy basic products.  Some municipalities have stores more often stocked than others.

Schools to open, Airport remains closed

The school year is scheduled to restart on November 2.

Havana Airport will remain closed for now, but shops are returning to their normal hours. Until now they only opened in the morning. Bars and discos are to remain closed for the moment.

At the beginning of September, the authorities had imposed a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am and restricted movement in the city of more than two million people after an alarming outbreak of Covid-19. The government claims the measures were successful in lowering the number of hot spots in the capital.

The use of face masks remains mandatory, as is social distancing in public places, under penalty of heavy fines.

According to government figures, since the beginning of the pandemic there have been an accumulated 5,597 cases and 122 deaths. Through Wednesday the national director of epidemiology, Francisco Duran, said 7,150 persons are currently at hospitals and isolation centers.

Read more news and commentary from Cuba here.