COVID-19 January 3, 2021 | 8:37 am

This was the first curfew to begin at noon in Greater Santo Domingo

Photo: courtesy of Listin Diario

Santo Domingo, DR

The first weekend of the year has arrived, and citizens seem to be effectively welcoming the new restriction imposed by the Health Cabinet (GS) to prevent further coronavirus spread.

The measure, which has been the most severe of all concerning the curfew, dictates that on Saturday 2 and 9 and Sunday 3 and 10 of January,, the curfew will be from 12:00 noon to 5:00 in the morning.

This Saturday, January 2, the day the country has registered a total of 172,965 cases of coronavirus from the virus records, the main roads and some sectors of the capital have been deserted.

In a tour made by journalists from this medium, it was observed in Máximo Gómez, 27 de Febrero and John F. Kennedy avenues little traffic flow and when the hour and minutes before noon arrived, the authorities made the preparations by placing the checkpoints and proceeding to verify the drivers’ permits.

Before starting, some pedestrians were a bit uncomfortable because they left their jobs at the time of curfew, and there was no longer any transportation to get to their homes. The few that were left walked very fast.

Others were seen walking, saw the press go by, and shouted that “the authorities with the imposition had left them on their feet.”

Police authorities passed by on patrol cars and on motorcycles to verify that the schedule was respected and order was maintained.

There was no extensive line of cars on the Juan Bosch and Juan Pablo Duarte bridges, as is customary from Monday to Friday. On the contrary, there were a few cargo trucks and several cars.

In other places visited in the capital such as Villa Francisca, Villa María, Villa Consuelo, La Duarte, Villa Juana, all businesses were closed.

As for the citizens, some remained inside their houses, and others seemed to ignore and were sitting outside.

Civilians were seen wearing their masks, and no crowds were observed.

Quiet night

Although children were observed playing in the streets and young people gathered in neighborhood corners, this Saturday night passed quietly in various sectors of Santo Domingo on the first day with a curfew from noon.

A team of journalists from Listín Diario made a night tour of Los Girasoles, La Puya de Arroyo Hondo, Cristo Rey, Villas Agrícolas, and Villa Juana to verify how citizens were complying with the curfew imposed by the Government from noon, on the first day at that new time.

In Los Girasoles, young people gathered on street corners to talk and drink alcoholic beverages. In the back streets, crowds of people talking or dancing were seen in the distance and the dark, although no loud music was heard.

A constant in all the neighborhoods visited were children running around in the streets; while some rode bicycles, others played ball.

In La Puya de Arroyo Hondo, teenagers practiced basketball on a court, despite the closed, open public spaces such as gyms and places dedicated to sports.

In some Cristo Rey streets, Villas Agrícolas, and Villa Juana, people were sitting in their galleries or sidewalks.

As the hours advanced and night fell, the number of vehicles in the main streets and avenues of Santo Domingo decreased, but from time to time, lines with dozens of cars would form waiting at some checkpoints on John F. Kennedy Avenue.

Around 8:00 at night, the streets were mostly traveled by deliveries from pharmacies, restaurants, and grocery stores, allowing home delivery of cooked, raw, food, or medicine until 11:00 at night.

Curfew exceptions

According to decrees 740-20, people’s circulation dedicated to health services such as doctors, nurses, bioanalysts, paramedical personnel, and pharmaceutical personnel is allowed during the curfew hours.

People with a medical emergency need to go to a health center or pharmacy and duly identify people dedicated to private security tasks.

Also permitted are members of the press and other duly accredited media and operators of vehicles dedicated to the urban and interurban distribution of goods, supplies, and fuel duly identified.

Finally, international passengers and operators of private or commercial vehicles transporting them and employees of the maritime and air transport sector duly identified in transit to or from ports and airports also are permitted.

Other provisions

Closure of all open-air public spaces, such as parks, boardwalks, gyms, and sports areas, only except for professional tournaments without public attendance. The beaches will be open.

The cessation of religious activities and meetings in churches was established. The mandatory use of masks in public places and private places of general use and other measures and protocols of social distancing is confirmed.