Guatemala opens long-closed national parks, bars, gyms

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s government says bars, theaters and its famed archaeological sites can reopen on Thursday after being — at least legally — closed for months due to the fight against COVID-19.

The government said limits on attendance and other measures will still be in place for areas where the new coronavirus is still spreading at relatively high levels — which includes Guatemala City and most of the country’s municipalities.

Theaters, gyms and other venues, including restaurants in shopping centers, have to limit attendance to one person per 10 square meters — a limit that also affects churches, which had earlier been allowed to open. Bars must have natural ventilation and can’t allow more than five people to a table.

The new rules mean public parks, including national parks and archaeological sites, will reopen, as can fairs and swimming pools.

The Central American nation began gradually lifting restrictions in late July, though it only opened its borders and resumed full operations at its international airport less than two weeks ago.

The country has recorded 3,238 deaths from COVID-19 and roughly 91,000 people infected with the virus, including President Alejandro Giammattei, who said recently he had suffered relatively light symptoms.