Economy Closures: What is Expected in 2021?

Although the end of the year holidays is a threat to Central America for a second wave of covid-19 infections, it is expected that total closures will not be decreed since there are currently effective health control options, and less costly for the economy.

Monday, December 7, 2020

When the first cases of covid-19 were reported in the region in March 2020, most governments decided to paralyze a large part of productive activities and decree home quarantines. These actions focused on containing the advance of the virus caused a severe economic crisis in all countries.

Check out the "System for monitoring markets and economic situation in Central American countries" of CentralAmericaData.

As of June, restrictions began to be gradually lifted and most economic sectors are now operating.

With the arrival of the end of the year holidays, a rise in the number of cases of covid-19 is predicted, a situation that would put pressure on Central American health systems and could force governments to decree new restrictions on the economy.

Although the possibility of new suspensions in productive activities is not ruled out, there are specialists who believe that it is possible to implement other strategies.

Martin Rama, chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank, told that "... Today we are not in the same conditions of March or April, we know more, and the countries are more equipped, there are less deaths per case and each case can be treated better, therefore, it is impossible to manage with more restricted measures."

According to Rama, the first reaction when the cases appeared was closure, because there was no other viable option in the hands, and now reactions can be given that are less costly to the economy and equally effective in health matters.

In the case of Guatemala, the Minister of Economy, Antonio Malouf, said that "... there is already experience and management of covid-19, and 'you can not have another closure so strong as it was at the beginning of the pandemic."

Malouf added that "... these outbreaks exist, but now we know how to handle them better. That total shutdown that we are afraid would be a disgrace to the national economy, I think is not going to exist."

More on this topic

One Year of Crisis: How are Economies Recovering?

March 2021

Twelve months after Central America began a health and economic crisis triggered by the covid-19 outbreak, Guatemala was the fastest recovering economy and Panamanian economic activity is the slowest to return to pre-pandemic levels.

In March 2020, the first cases of covid-19 began to be detected in the countries of the region.

Urgent Need to Reopen the Economy, but Without Bureaucracy

August 2020

After five months of implementing measures to mitigate the covid-19 outbreak, the business sector in Panama is calling for the removal of unreasonable, technical and unconstitutional restrictions that are working against the success of economic and social recovery.

So far, Panama is the country that has registered the most abrupt fall in its level of economic activity in Central America, with a -41% year-on-year variation in the IMAE in May 2020.

Quarantine: Total Closures in Panama

July 2020

In order to control the spread of covid-19, the authorities decided to decree total quarantines on Saturdays and Sundays in the provinces of Panama and West Panama.

Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre, reported that the total quarantine is established for Saturdays and Sundays, which will be in effect from this Friday, July 17, until further notice.

Quarantine: Total Closures Suspended

June 2020

After the Guatemalan government carried out total closures of economic activity for three consecutive weekends in the context of the covid-19 outbreak, the president announced that there would be no total suspension of operations for the week of June 1-7.

Another change is that the curfew will now be 18 hours to 5 am next day, reported the night of May 31 President Alejandro Giammattei on national television.

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