May 19, 2024
General News

More Cities in Antioquia Reopen Businesses; Medellin Leads All Colombia in ‘Smart’ Reopenings, Covid-19 Avoidance

The Antioquia departmental government revealed May 15 that eight local municipalities that haven’t had a single case of Coronavirus have just won special permission from Colombia’s Interior Ministry to reopen nearly everything.

“The municipalities of Caracolí, Maceo, Puerto Berrío, Puerto Nare, Puerto Triunfo, Urrao, Caucasia and Yondó can now implement their gradual reopening protocols,” according to the Antioquia departmental government.

The liberation scheme nevertheless continues to ban reopening of bars, discoteques, canteens or any mass-gathering events or areas, at least for now.

What’s more, the Colombia Health Ministry requires business owners to meet biosafety regulations including use of personal protective equipment, while customers likewise must wear masks.

In addition, 21 checkpoint-control sites have already been installed on highways at the entrance and exit of various municipalities here — including the Medellin metropolitan area — and along the main trunk roads of the department, the department added.

Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria added that to date, 114 municipalities in Antioquia have yet to record a single case of Covid-19. So, many more towns here likely have a good chance of winning Interior Ministry approvals for widespread business reopenings. Abejorral, Sonsón, Argelia and Nariño are among towns now waiting for approvals, he added.

Medellin/Antioquia Outshines Colombia

Meanwhile, as of May 15, the Health Ministry reported 14,216 Coronavirus cases nationally, with 546 deaths and 3,460 recoveries to date.

Bogota is by far the worst performer at 5,008 cases, followed by Cali/Valle del Cauca (1,598 cases), then Atlantico (1,493); Bolivar (1,146); Amazonas (1,003); Meta (940), and – remarkably, given its relatively huge population — Medellin/Antioquia, with just 509 cases, six deaths and 391 recoveries.

What’s more, Medellin has a rate of only one Coronavirus death per million inhabitants, best in all Colombia by far.

Bogota as of May 14 had the worst record with 149 total deaths, followed by Cali with 61 deaths, Cartagena with 47, Leticia with 25 and Barranquilla with 24. In contrast, the city of Medellin had just 3 Coronavirus deaths, while three other deaths in Antioquia towns bring the departmental total to just six deaths.

Medellin Construction Projects Restart

Meanwhile, on May 15, Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero revealed that 40% of 80 municipal construction projects are now back in action, including Parques del Río, Metrocable Picacho and many crucial road projects, with 2,500 workers already back on those jobs.

On a related front, Medellin’s Health Department has now reviewed more than 85,000 Covid-19 prevention protocols filed by businesses here, of which 63,000 have already been approved.

Such protocols are mandated by Colombia’s Health Ministry and must be accompanied by registration in the “Medellín Me Cuida Empresas” computerized platform.

To qualify for reopening, the Health Department first checks to ensure “mandatory use of masks, provision of glycerinated alcohol for use by all staff, minimum [personal] distance of two meters in offices, cubicles, company restaurants, cafes, common areas, elevators, among others,” according to the Mayor’s Office.

“The main objective of our visits [to companies] will be to verify compliance with the national protocols, to identify possible risk factors and guarantee to citizens that the measures being adopted in the business sector allow control of contagion,” added Medellin Health Department secretary Andree Uribe.

ACI Cites More Foreign Investment Coming Here

On another positive front, the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellin and the Metropolitan Area (ACI) announced May 15 that Medellin continues to enjoy relatively favorable status in the eyes of foreign investors.

In a “virtual” meeting with 70 Chilean businessmen organized by ACI and high-tech incubator Ruta N, these foreign investors “learned about all the advantages that the Antioquia capital offers for investment in the short- and medium-term,” according to ACI.

“In terms of investment, Covid-19 represents a great challenge because it challenges us to adapt and rethink our strategies for attracting and retaining national and foreign investment,” added ACI Director Eleonora Betancur.

“We see ‘virtual’ potential as strategic potential. To continue this path that we have traveled for more than 12 years, we have [to date] managed to attract more than US$2.68 billion and 257 investment projects from more than 35 countries,” she added.

Between 2008 and 2019 alone, Chilean investment in Medellin hit US$277 million in manufacturing, high-tech industries, commerce, leisure and entertainment, among others, according to ACI. Some of the most-recognized investments include those by La Polar (2011), Cryogas and Homecenter (2012), Protema (2015) and Co-Work Latam (2019), she noted.

Colombiamoda 2020 Goes Virtual

On yet another front, Medellin-based textile/fashion industry trade group Inexmoda announced that the 31st annual “Colombiamoda” fashion show here will move to the internet – from July 27 to August 2 (see:

“In these moments of uncertainty that the world is experiencing, we are called to rethink and renew ourselves,” according to Inexmoda. “We adapt, and to support the fashion industry, we decided to bet on the realization of Colombiamoda 2020 while preserving its axes of knowledge, fashion and business through digital channels.”

The “virtual” show this year will include:

  • “Digital platforms for specialized fashion businesses with buyers from Colombia and the Americas;
  • “E-commerce spaces to generate retail sales;
  • “Digital fashion staging, featuring collections by brands and designers for sale in the ‘See Now, Buy’ Now format;
  • “Lifestyle experiences together with brands that will excite us through virtuality;
  • “Inexmoda-UPB Knowledge Pavilion that will offer open lectures to the public via streaming;
  • “Online consulting and ‘Master Classes’ with experts from the fashion industry,” according to Inexmoda.

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