Cusco during the Quarantine

Thursday July 9, 2020
Cusco during the Quarantine

On Sunday March 15th in the evening, as we were all preparing for the start of a new work week, we got the shocking national announcement from the president of Peru that we were entering a nationwide quarantine and state of emergency with the closure of all borders by land, air and sea. People in Cusco could not leave their homes, spend time outside; travel and we had to follow a strict and mandatory curfew. All public and private schools and universities were closed. Only one person was allowed to move per family from Monday to Saturday for the purchase of food, pharmaceuticals and/or for financial procedures. On Sunday there was absolutely no movement allowed outside the home.

Cusco stopped moving over night and the city became a ghost town as compared to previous years when the city was bustling with tourists at the start of the high season. The streets of Cusco were virtually empty besides a few buses, the police and sporadic individuals making their necessary purchases at the grocery store or market.


Starting mid-April we saw some easing of restrictions including inter-provincial movement for humanitarian or emergency cases and extended hours for pharmacies and supermarkets.


In May we saw the resumption of restaurant delivery, maintenance services, technical services (gas, carpentry, electricity, laundry), diagnostic support services (dentistry, rehabilitation, human reproduction, eye doctors, veterinary) recycling services, notary services, hairdressing (in home service only), IT and professional services and agricultural services. Children up to 14 years old were able to go outside for 30 minutes a day. By the end of May taxis were operating again in Cusco.


In June we saw the resumption of physical activity and recreation in public spaces, the opening of shopping centers and the extension of curfew hours. The famous and beloved Inti Raymi Festival, that takes place every year on June 24th, was cancelled for the first time in almost 50 years.

Post-Quarantine Life

After 107 days of a strict and rigid nationwide quarantine that began on March 15, 2020 and ended on June 30, 2020, many regions are now enjoying some more ease and freedom (besides the regions of Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco, San Martín, Madre de Dios and Áncash who are still currently under a mandatory quarantine because their COVID-19 cases are still increasing). The use of a mask is still mandatory to circulate in public and schools are still closed.

Now that we are in the month of July there is so much talk about how Cusco will prepare its museums, archeological sites and other tourist attractions to open for national tourism only. Machu Picchu was supposed to open on July 1, but the date has been pushed back indefinitely. The government is also discussing the resumption of interprovincial travel via bus and plane starting on July 15. All these details, safety and health protocols are being developed as we speak.

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