On March 21st, El Salvador shutdown. In a televised address, President Nayib Bukele announced the country would begin a mandatory nationwide 30-day home quarantine. His announcement followed previous preventative measures that included suspending school, closing businesses, and sealing off the borders. He made the case for the quarantine by sharing the data. He presented graphs from countries like Spain and Italy, and projections of what would happen to El Salvador if action was not taken immediately. “We will not have enough beds,” he said.
Essential services would remain open, restaurants would still be able to deliver food, and the most needy in the country who survive day-to-day by working in the streets would be given a cash payout to allow them to survive without work for the next month. Additionally, one member per family is allowed to leave to buy groceries and other essential goods. Otherwise, everyone is to remain at home.
The government is also making sure that prices for basic foods remain fair and accessible to all.
On the first day of the quarantine, police detained over 250 people for violating the rules. These people were arrested and will be sent to quarantine facilities for the next thirty days.
Love and Hope provides an essential service, so our staff are allowed to travel to and from work, and our driver is still allowed to transport them. However, we have dramatically changed our schedules to limit the number of trips that must be taken. For example, our care-giving staff will now work one week on and one week off for the next month (more than doubling the length of a typical shift). Additionally, we have prepared letters and ID cards for them to present should they be stopped by the police when traveling.
We will all be stuck indoors for the next month. We cannot move freely between the boys home and girls home, but we are fortunate to have homes with ample room for many people and backyards that can provide us with fresh air. Many in El Salvador are not so lucky.
Finding ways to occupy everyone’s time will be a challenge, but we’re off to a good start!
We’ve been exercising:
Continuing with school:
Cleaning up the yards:
And Skyping with distant friends and family:
Once a week we’ll be ordering food as a special treat. We want to help support the local economy and also give ourselves something to look forward to. If you’d like to treat the kids to a carry-out dinner, I’m sure they would love it! Just let us know!
As always we appreciate your support of Love and Hope. Especially during these difficult times.