Today was the national census and I'll try to post some pics later on today but basically, everyone in Quito had to stay home from 7AM to 5PM for the Census. The streest were completely empty and it was eerily quiet in our neighborhood. All businesses were shut and no domestic flights took off or landed during those times. Here's the Embassy warden message that explains the basics of the Census Day.
Warden Message – U.S. Embassy, Quito, Ecuador
Travel Restrictions Related to Census Will Limit Movement in Country on November 28
November 23, 2010
The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ecuador that travel will be limited in all urban areas because of the census, this Sunday, November 28. The Government of Ecuador, through the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), has issued more complete regulations regarding census day. An “Immobility Law” will go into effect and states that everyone located in urban areas in Ecuador must stay in their homes or hotels from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. this Sunday, November 28, to take part in the census.
If you do need to travel that day, you will have to do so before 7:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. U.S. citizen tourists traveling in Ecuador may wish to arrange to be in rural areas on November 28, as the travel restrictions do not appear to apply outside of urban areas. However, if you are located in an urban area, you will be required to take part in the census.
For the purposes of the census, urban areas are considered to be large cities as well as smaller cities and towns near them. Isolated villages in remote, rural areas (such as the Galapagos, Mindo, etc.) will be counted at a later date. For example, everyone in Quito and in the surrounding towns of Cumbaya, Tumbaco, Puembo, Pifo, Yaruqui, Papallacta and Machachi will take the census on Sunday the 28th.
The Government of Ecuador has released a more complete list of rules for tourists regarding census day. Be advised that this information is available only in Spanish. If you have specific questions, you may contact the ACS Section of the U.S. Embassy during our regular call-in hours.
Several important points:
On Sunday, November 28, no businesses will be open in urban areas, including restaurants and stores.
International flights will fly as scheduled, but domestic flights will not fly between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you already have a flight booked for that day, please check with your airline to ensure that it is flying as scheduled. Those flying during the day are being asked to be at the airport before 7:00 a.m. and stay at the airport until their flight leaves. The same for those arriving that day – they will be asked to stay at the airport until after 5:00 p.m. However, some airlines will have shuttles back and forth to hotels. Check with your airline to see if this service will be available to you.
There will only be limited taxi service available in the major cities and no interprovincial bus service after 4:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
In case of an emergency, tourists can call 101 if police are needed or 911 if there is a medical emergency and transportation to a hospital needs to be arranged.
As stores and restaurants will be closed, U.S. citizens should prepare in advance for basic needs, such as food and water. Some hotels may have food available for their clients; check with your specific hotel for more information. Furthermore, no alcohol will be sold in urban areas the entire weekend.
More updated information will be published as available at the INEC Census homepage.