Something to celebrate! The state of emergency was lifted this week, exactly six months after it had been declared. That’s not to say that everything’s back to normal here in Ecuador, but at least we’re slowly going in the right direction again.
Hospitals are no longer full, shopping centres and cinemas are allowed to open again with certain restrictions still in place, and public buildings are cautiously reopening their doors. Schools and universities, however, remain closed until the end of the calendar year at least.
The new normal is gradually taking shape. People are constantly having their temperature checked, shops are dousing every single coin and banknote with alcohol, and you must wear a facemask as soon as you leave your house. Everywhere. That includes the workplace and your own car, even if you’re in it alone!
A lot has been written about the problems caused by Covid-19. But there are some positive side effects. On top of the list of course, the reduction in traffic. Quito hasn’t had any traffic jams for months. Thanks to the advice to work from home, the absence of school buses and the restrictions linked to license plates (people are only allowed to go on the road three days per week).
You can reach your destination in a jiffy these days! Moreover, most of the toll gates to and from the city are now finally fully electronic. No more hassle with coins, no more congestion.
We’re also exempt from the compulsory national car test this year. All car test certificates are automatically renewed for another year – at your own risk… Did your driver’s license expire during the past six months? Not to worry, the validity will be extended for a while.
The banks managed to catch up as well. Actions that used to require heaps of paperwork, can be finalised with a signature and a proof of ID these days. The same is true for online banking. New services, which until recently were thought to be completely impossible, are being added every month.
So, there you go, every cloud has a silver lining. Long live the coronavirus… but they’d better come up with a vaccine soon!
Victor van Dijk,
Area manager South America, FleuraMetz
Here you’ll find more blogs from Victor.