We have been closely monitoring the impact of the new coronavirus on our partner communities in Guatemala. Families are concerned about the situation, and the government has taken measures to avoid the spread of the virus in the country. At this time, families are sheltering in their homes.
- Limitations on free movement
- Prohibitions of large gatherings
- Suspensions of public shows and any kind of meetings
- Limitations on the circulation of urban and extra-urban transport
Families must remain in their homes except for trips to buy food and essential supplies. Making the situation more difficult, markets are open only from 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM by order of the government. Since public transport has been suspended, it is difficult for rural residents to reach major markets unless they have their own means of transportation.
Since the arrival of the virus, many companies have closed. Those remaining open for business must follow sanitary measures stipulated by the government to protect their customers. Transportation companies were hit hard, with about 2,000 bus drivers and assistants losing their jobs as a result of the imposed sanitary measures.
On March 22, the federal government declared a curfew from 4:00 PM to 4:00 AM, during which time absolutely no one can be outside their home, on the streets, or somewhere in public. Violators can be detained, fined, or even sent to prison. Experts are currently recommending that the curfew be maintained through the end of April.
The Minister of Education suspended classes for the month of April. Some public and private establishments are distributing homework through virtual platforms so that students can take advantage of time at home, and then turn in the tasks done when classes resume. Many students in rural communities are taking advantage of classes provided by radio and television.
In rural communities, the indigenous leadership has established measures restricting access. For those arriving with cargo, drivers must use masks and must disinfect their vehicle in order to prevent the virus from entering the communities.
Price of some commodities has increased due to the crisis, most notably corn.