SANTIAGO — Starting Sept. 2, seven districts in Chile will begin Phase 3 of the government’s Covid-19 reopening plan. Five are in the Metropolitan region, and two are in the Valparaíso region. This phase is called “Preparation.”
On Sept. 2, seven districts will move up from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of the government’s plan to reopen and reactivate the economy. Chile’s Paso a Paso (Step by Step) Plan has five stages: Quarantine, Transition, Preparation, Initial Opening, and Advanced Opening.
In a press conference, Minister of Health Enrique Paris announced that seven districts will enter the Preparation phase at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2: San José de Maipo, Las Condes, Providencia, Ñuñoa, and Vitacura in the Metropolitan region; and Los Andes and San Felipe in the Valparaíso region. This affects 826,348 residents, according to data from the latest census.
Paris also announced that four districts will drop back down to Phase 1, meaning that they will now be in quarantine all week. These districts are: Santa Cruz, Chillán Viejo, Chillán, and Hualqui.
Discussing the decrease in coronavirus cases in the country, Paris had a decidedly positive tone and added that “Chile administers more PCR tests than any other country in Latin America.” He also said that, in the districts that remain in Phase 2, people over 75 will be able to move freely from Monday through Friday.
What Does Phase III Mean?
In Phase 2, people are only allowed out from Monday to Friday. As of next Wednesday, those in the districts transitioning to Phase 3 will be allowed to go outside on the weekends as well. Curfew, however, continues throughout the entire week, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Preparation Phase allows groups of a maximum of 50 people in open spaces and five people in closed spaces. As for sports activities in open spaces, a maximum of 25 people can participate, while a maximum of five are allowed in closed spaces, and without an audience.
Another thing that residents in these seven districts will be allowed to do is go to restaurants. After five months, restaurants will be able to open up to the public, but only if they have terraces or set tables on the sidewalk. They will only be allowed to serve 25 percent of their capacity or set a distance of two meters between tables.
Mayors React To The News
The mayor of Providencia, Evelyn Matthei, posted a video in which she urged people to continue to act responsibly and follow health measures, such as mask-wearing and hand-washing. She also expressed gratitude towards the people that live in her district. “This is an achievement of our neighbors.”
Andrés Zarhi, mayor of Ñuñoa, also reacted to the news on Twitter. He said, “the work we have done in the health field, as well as the neighbors’ responsibility, has been fundamental.” He asked the owners of restaurants to be responsible when opening their businesses, to move to the next phase, “otherwise, we could go backward.”
After five weeks of being in Phase 2, the mayor of Las Condes, Joaquín Lavin, expressed joy but likewise recommended continued caution. He also announced that the municipality is planning to block off Isidora Goyenechea from vehicle traffic so that restaurants can set their tables on the street “and that way, we can help them to recover economically.”
Fernanda Gándara is currently finishing her journalism degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She’s passionate about writing, environmental issues and women empowerment. You can find her on Twitter as @FerGMarchant