Several men fish on the Malecón in Havana on October 7, 202. (EFE / Yander Zamora).

Restaurants, beaches and the emblematic wall of Havana’s Malecón, banned from the public for months due to the worst regrowth of the coronavirus covid-19 on Cuba, have regained life with the start of the de-escalation.

Cuba It went from showing the worst epidemiological indicators, with records of daily cases and deaths, to gradually restarting face-to-face classes and services in some cities, supported by the advance of mass vaccination.

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Several people have taken advantage of the easing of restrictions in their own way to relieve the stress of almost two years of confinement, despite the authorities’ warning about the complexity of the epidemiological situation.

The new de-escalation in Havana, Mayabeque (west), Cienfuegos, Ciego de Ávila (center), Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo (east) and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud represented the resumption of gastronomic, notarial and other services paused by the pandemic.

The cafeterias and several establishments have been filled with disciplined people who use the mask and maintain social distancing and also with those who “trust” to be vaccinated and live as if there were no coronavirus.

Several men fish on the Malecón in Havana on October 7, 202. (EFE / Yander Zamora).

In the case of restaurants, they must comply with the health protection measures for diners, ensure the correct handling of food, maintain natural ventilation, limited capacity and a distance of about two meters between tables.

Reservations by phone or digitally also appear in this new step towards the gradual reopening of other regions of the country and international tourism as of November.

TO THE BEACH AND THE MALECÓN WITH A MASK

For Lisbet Sánchez, from Havana, it is extremely important to comply with the measures “so that this (the reopening) is maintained” because the pandemic has not been easy.

This 51-year-old housewife has gone to the beach with some of her family and friends, including Ana Leydis Díaz, a 32-year-old young engineer “delighted with the openness” and suspicious of sanitary measures.

The joy of these Cubans contrasts with the discomfort of the Puerto Rican Pablo Ruíz, who wonders how they are going to open the beaches “with four policemen for thousands of people.”

Two men play soccer on a beach in Havana on October 6, 2021. (EFE / Yander Zamora).
Two men play soccer on a beach in Havana on October 6, 2021. (EFE / Yander Zamora).

This 60-year-old teacher residing in Cuba He criticized the absence of police or inspectors to discipline a place full of people “drinking alcohol without any distancing.”

We need to walk, clear, breathe fresh air and take advantage of this moment, say Ismairy and her husband Daniel, walking with a mask along the Havana boardwalk.

These Cubans have opted for the emblematic promenade, where many people have returned to sit, enjoy a sunset or simply exercise.

Guitarist Orlando García is another of those who asked for the reopening after almost two years “locked up at home without being able to do” what he likes.

LEARNING TO LIVE WITH PANDEMIC

Mass vaccination against covid-19 and the need to oxygenate the economy affected by the restrictions gave way this time to de-escalation, which includes the restart of face-to-face classes, the gradual reopening of its borders on November 15 and several hotels.

The Caribbean country suspended commercial and charter flights in April 2020 to stop the expansion of the coronavirus.

In October of that year, the airports reopened, but infections soared, many attributed to non-compliance with isolation protocols for travelers.

Several people enjoy a day at the beach on October 6, 2021, in Havana.  (EFE / Yander Zamora).
Several people enjoy a day at the beach on October 6, 2021, in Havana. (EFE / Yander Zamora).

For this reason, since January flights from the United States, Mexico, Panama, the Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia have been kept to a minimum.

Before the arrival of the pandemic, tourism represented for Cuba the second official source of foreign exchange income – only behind the sale of professional services abroad – and contributed around 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

In the midst of this panorama, Cuban scientists developed three of their own formulas against the coronavirus -Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus- with which it is intended to immunize 92.6% of the 11.2 million inhabitants, including the population between 2 and 18 years.

The advance in vaccination has also allowed the current school year 2020-2021 to be resumed through teleclasses and in face-to-face format in some teachings, after being interrupted in April 2020 by the first outbreak of SARS-Cov-2.

However, Cuba aspires to return to its usual school period from September to July, complete and in person for the 2023-2024 academic year, according to the sector authorities.

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