Bogotá’s new normal: End of the mask-erade

By Oli Pritchard March 1, 2022

Bogotá to go facemask-free as the return to normality continues.

Facemasks on the streets of Bogotá will no longer be necessary. Photo: Jacek Pobłocki, Unsplash

From today, March 1st, it will no longer be necessary to wear a facemask (tapaboca) in public in Bogotá. It only applies to open-air spaces and to those without symptoms who have been fully vaccinated. In reality, of course, it’s unlikely anyone will check whether those conditions are being met. According to the mayor’s office, 94.3% of adults and youths (over 12 years of age) are vaccinated. This means the capital is ready to continue easing off restrictions. Mayor Claudia López made the declaration last week, and it goes into effect from this morning.

Claudia López already facemask free here on Twitter 

Covid is still circulating in the population, of course, but the combination of high vaccination take-up and the mildness of Omicron mean that there’s little risk of red alert in the hospitals. You will be expected to use tapabocas when in enclosed spaces, as before. The implementation of that has become increasingly inconsistent, as with vaccine passports.

Schools will expect to see students masked in class, but mask-free to play outside. Stadiums, concerts and festivals also will be free of the requirement for masks. López also made it clear that any place likely to see large agglomerations of people should continue to require mask use. That seems to include education establishments, public transport and churches, but not the aforementioned stadiums or concerts.

Colombia’s new mask rules

The measure will apply for all regions of the country where full vaccination levels are at 70% or higher. The country as a whole isn’t far off, at 65% or so. The list of the full 451 municipios at or above 70% are in the tweet below from Health Minister Fernando Ruiz. Note that some people will have been vaccinated in places other than their homes, which may explain why some municipalities are well over 100%. He also listed the departmental capitals that can apply the new rules: most of them, with notable exceptions in Cali, Santa Marta and Villavicencio.

Daily covid-related deaths continue to run under a hundred, with 74 on the last day of February. Only four were under 60 years of age. Vaccinations are still available, especially boosters, and you can check MiVacuna site and/or our guide to vaccination for more info. Bogotá still has an estimated 300,000 older folk yet to be vaccinated, and that seems to be for personal choice now. Vaccination has been free and easy for over a year now, meaning those still without the vaccine are likely to have their own reasons for not doing so.