There are states in the country with fewer inhabitants than Catia, so controlling the number of people on its streets is not an easy task, according to Mayor Erika Farias.
In mid-March, Venezuela declared a state of national emergency and implemented the collective voluntary quarantine that remains active throughout the country. However, in some busiest areas of the capital there are still large numbers of people on the streets and the Mayor of Caracas decided to implement the so-called ‘Plan Ordenamiento de Catia’.
This program seeks “to avoid the crowding of people in the Sucre parish, where some 600,000 people live,” Mayor Erika Farías explains to RT.
Erika Farías, Mayor of Caracas.
“Catia has about 600 thousand inhabitants, let it be said well, it is almost a state in the number of inhabitants. In Venezuela there are states with less population than the parish has.”
To achieve this order, shopping days by territorial axes were enabled. In addition, on Wednesdays and Sundays they make a commercial lockdown on the busiest streets, “because those are the areas where the greatest number of people are concentrated.”
The lockdown days are used by the health authorities for the disinfection and cleaning process, both on the streets and in commercial establishments. In this regard, the mayor explained that the merchants agreed to this plan because they know that the final objective is “to cut the transmission chain” of the virus.
Also, houses in the area were issued a “mobility pass” to ensure that only one person per family goes out to make purchases. This ticket, in fact, is requested to get into public transport in the parish.
As for transportation, guards have been established for the purpose of each unit to stop at least two days a week, “and there will be penalties for violators,” emphasizes the mayor. Similarly, the parking of vehicles on the streets was restricted.
The objective of the authorities is that the population’s exits be reduced to a minimum to stop the spread of the virus. For this reason also, a program called ‘I shop at home’ was established to serve some 150,000 families.
Buy from home
‘I buy at home’ is a program through which the neighbors come together to place a collective order, which is brought to the area “with all the sanitary measures”, as a kind of group delivery, carried out by the so-called “motorized force”, a motorcycle drivers union in the capital.
This program complements the house-to-house delivery of the food boxes of the Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP), which include basic items such as corn and wheat flours, rice, pasta, sugar, oil, grains and canned goods.
This plan has the support of 536 community chiefs, 3,000 street chiefs, and staff from both the mayor’s office and the Capital District Governorate.
In fact, grassroots leaders and residents of the parish believe that a second phase should then be generated to regulate the flow of people who are not inhabitants of the community, but who move to it to acquire products. One of most important public market of Caracas is located in this area, the “Mercado de Catia’.
“We had days of concern with the flow of people in Catia, they all have masks and the vast majority wear gloves, but there were days when many people came and the number of people (although called by the security forces to stay home) increased, and many people were stubborn,” said Alejandra Suárez, a neighbor of the area.
If all goes well, the authorities in Caracas have asked the governor of the Miranda state, Héctor Rodríguez, to implement the same plan in Petare, known as the largest neighborhood in Latin America.
Featured image: Facade of the “Plaza Sucre” subway station in Catia, Caracas. April 15, 2020. Caracas Mayor office press.
Translated by JRE/EF