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US Embassy Alert - Nationwide Update for Movement Restrictions

Denese A Rodgers

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Health Alert:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (December 28, 2020) 


Events:  New Regional and Nationwide COVID-19 Restrictions in Panama 


On December 28, the Government of Panama announced new regional and nationwide restrictions lasting until January 14.  Starting January 4, these include a return to movement restrictions based on gender and ID number in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste. 


Movement and shopping restrictions: 

·       From December 28 to December 31, a nationwide curfew remains in effect from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.  Additionally, shopping in retail establishments is restricted by gender (Women: Monday and Wednesday; Men: Tuesday and Thursday), with businesses closing at 5 p.m.   

·       The full lockdown from December 31 at 7:00 p.m. through January 4 at 5:00 a.m. remains in place.  

·       From January 4 to 14, a total quarantine and curfew are in effect from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste.  Businesses will close at 7:30 p.m.  All non-essential businesses will be closed.   For the rest of Panama, the curfew remains from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

·       Full nationwide lockdown on January 9 and 10, with one exception:  On January 9, one person per household may visit the cemetery. 


From January 4 to January 14, gender restrictions in Panama and Panama Oeste provinces allow for movement as follows: 

·   Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 

·   Men:  Tuesday and Thursday  


Additionally, in Panama and Panama Oeste, movements are restricted to a two-hour window based on the last digit of each individual’s cedula number or passport number if an individual is not a citizen of Panama.   During their corresponding two-hour window, individuals are allowed one hour for travel (30 minutes each way) and one hour for shopping.  U.S. Citizens in Panama should always carry their passports, and their Panamanian cedula if they have one.  The two-hour windows are as follows: 


·       Last number is 7 – 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. 

·       Last number is 8 – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. 

·       Last number is 9 – 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. 

·       Last number is 0 – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

·       Last number is 1 – 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

·       Last number is 2 – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. 

·       Last number is 3 – 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. 

·       Last number is 4 – 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. 

·       Last number is 5 – 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

·       Last number is 6 – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 


There is a special window for the handicapped and those over 60 years old, regardless of cedula or passport numbers, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (gender restrictions still apply).  One caretaker (regardless of their gender) may accompany these individuals.  


Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos). 


Hours of circulation during the total quarantine are intended only for essential purchases by one person per household.  The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Panama that it is always obligatory to comply with local laws.   


MINSA reminds citizens and residents of Panama that staying at home, not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  It also requires the use of masks when in public. 


The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly.  Take the opportunity to stock up on any medicines and food supplies you may need to shelter in place in your homes for an extended period of time. 


On December 15, the Government of Panama announced new nationwide movement and business restrictions between December 18 and January 4. 


Movement restrictions: 

·         From December 18 through January 4, curfew is set from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

·         From December 23 at 5:00 a.m. through January 4 at 5:00 a.m., access to/from beaches and the interior will be restricted. There will be checkpoints in strategic locations such as Chorrera, Divisa, La Villa, Chagres, Viguí. 

·         Full lockdown from December 25 at 7:00 p.m. through December 28 at 5:00 a.m. 

·         Full lockdown from December 31 at 7:00 p.m. through January 4 at 5:00 a.m. 

·         International borders remain open. 

·         One person per household allowed into supermarkets, with the exception that a minor or a person with a disability may also enter. 


Business operations: 

·         From December 18 through January 4, there will be a prohibition on the sale of alcohol (“ley seca”) from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

·         Government construction projects related to responding to the pandemic are exempted from curfew hours. 


The Embassy will continue to send messages, as needed, about larger changes that may affect U.S. citizens in Panama.  Minor changes, such as new health recommendations or reopening of a new sector of Panama's economy, will be placed on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page.  For all the details about changes made by the Government of Panama in response to the pandemic, please see the daily announcements from the Ministry of Health.   


Actions to Take: 


Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.     

·         For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.     

·         Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.     

·         Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Panama.  

·         Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States. 




U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama 

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue 

Clayton, Panama 

+507 317-5000 




State Department – Consular Affairs 

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444 


Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates. 


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