Full lockdown as seen from a traveler's perspective
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Full lockdown as seen from a traveler's perspective

With almost 87.000 COVID-19 cases, the Chilean government has decided to increase measures in some regions to a full lockdown. And guess what? We're in one of them.

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On Wednesday, the 13th of May, the government announced that the city we currently live in will go into a 14-day full quarantine starting Friday the 15th of May at 10 PM.

What does full lockdown mean?

Well, it means that for 14 days citizens should restrict their outings completely. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as :

Policemen asking a bike rider for his permit

  • Working or offering assistance to health facilities
  • Purchasing basic supplies
  • Going out as a result of autism spectrum or other mental disability
  • Walking pets
  • Making financial transactions
  • Attending direct family funerals
  • Taking food and school supplies from public bodies
  • Appearing to summons under the Law
  • Delivering food or other essential supplies to older adults
  • Providing basic food or supplies at penitentiaries
  • Moving to guardian's home (for minors of age)
  • Changing address
  • Transferring parents or guardians to health facilities

There are two time periods:

  • During the day - from 5 AM to 10 PM
  • During the night, or toque de queda - from 10 PM to 5 AM

Now, for all exceptional outings, everyone needs to use the dedicated police website to request a permit for their specific need. The permits have time limits and weekly restrictions. For instance, for basic supply shopping you can only apply twice per week and you are limited to three hours. Also, they request your address and destination so that if you are being checked while you are away to ensure that you are on the specified route. Depending on the time period mentioned above, you may need a permiso if you need to go out during the day, or a salvoconducto if you need to go out after 10 PM.

How did we prepare for it?

We only needed to ensure we had enough supplies to last us for two weeks. Therefore I went to the supermarket on Wednesday, as only one person could go per family/couple.

This was an interesting experience as I tried two supermarkets and the lines were crazy long! In the end, I had to pick one and stick with it. I got there at 12:20 PM and it took me two full hours to be able to enter the supermarket. Everybody was there, not people like me who had to go shopping, but also security guards, police and the army. Yes, the army! They had a full equipment including guns, knives and even GoPros on their chests. 

I must admit it was a bit intimidating to be surrounded by the army but I also felt safe. However, I know they were there to instigate some anxiety. It was understandable given the recent times of protests when a lot of violence occurred.

Once I got into the supermarket I tried to get everything, from fresh to canned foods, from milk to alcohol. I remember being so exhausted from all the waiting in the sun and felt a bit lightheaded, but I managed to get almost everything. The only important thing I couldn’t find was flour. Well, actually there was flour but only in 25kg bags - I couldn't even lift one up haha. 

On Thursday and Friday we went out for little walks and to get the things I didn't manage to get the first time. We still had to wait in lines but these times they were shorter, 20 minutes tops. We were now ready for the full lockdown.

Some of the supplies we got for the 14-day quarantine

Did we need to go out during the full lockdown?

Well yes. I had to go out in order to pay for the extension of the visa. Funny thing was, I was able to apply online but had to go to a bank in order to make the payment.

The second challenge was to manage to go to the bank and sort everything out by myself. I wanted to take an Uber there as the streets can be scary, especially when there's nobody around. Well, couldn't get an Uber as they only do deliveries during the full lockdown. Interesting how some businesses can adapt so fast to changing environments, right?It was a bit of a challenge as I needed to print the papers to take them to the bank and we had no printer. Luckily, our landlady was so kind that she spoke to a friend she had at the bank who printed the papers for us.

Thirdly, I had to get the permits online so that I can be legally allowed to go outside. I didn't know exactly how the system worked, I only knew that once I click Submit, I have three hours to get to the bank, the supermarket and back.

Yes, I wanted to stack up on some supplies before getting back from the bank. But for this I needed two permits - one for the bank and another to get to the supermarket. Luckily I found out that I got 15 minutes after submitting my request.

If you are in Chile and you need to obtain a permit during the full lockdown, you can obtain it here.

Read more about the full lockdown follow up. Have you read our first story on how this pandemic affects our travels? Read it here.

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