After 24 hours of confusion, officials in Buenos Aires City, Buenos Aires Province, Córdoba and Santa Fe have decided that citizens in large cities in their four regions will not be allowed to leave their homes for one hour each day.
The decision, announced via a joint statement, is a reaction to new rules for the mandatory quarantine period announced by President Alberto Fernández to tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech on Saturday evening, President Fernández said his government would allow limited recreational activities within 500 metres (0.3 mile) of each Argentine’s home, saying every citizen could leave their home for an hour ever day for "recreational activity" but not for exercise.
However, the Peronist leader said that he would leave the decision on permission in the hands of each regional leader.
While many other nations have allowed people out to exercise during the pandemic, Argentina's government has not granted permission for such activities. Fernández said in his speech Saturday evening that the one-hour window could be used to take a leisurely stroll, but not for exercise such as running or bike-riding.
After a videoconference meeting yesterday, authorities in Buenos Aires City, Buenos Aires Province, Córdoba and Santa Fe – some of the areas hardest hit by Covid-19 – said they would not grant permission for residents to leave their homes for leisure purposes in regions with populations greater than 500,000, keeping existing rules as they are.
"In large urban agglomerates with viral circulation [of Covid-19], one-hour leisure outings will not be enabled," the four regions said in a joint statement. "As the president said yesterday, social, preventive and compulsory isolation remains unchanged."
That means residents are only allowed to leave their homes for "essential" purposes, such as shopping, banking and medical appointments.
Authorities in Buenos Aires City, Buenos Aires Province, Córdoba and Santa Fe all said that their decision had been "taken in consultation with the National Government," clarifying that in areas of "density and little or no viral circulation, recreational trips will be allowed under the conditions agreed with municipal authorities."
Officials said their decision was for the moment and that that they would "continue to analyse the evolution of the contagion rate" and would re-visit their decision if the situation was "favourable."
After the president's decision on Saturday, "each province debated, according to the localities and their characteristics, the advisability of applying the regime for one-hour leisure outings," their statement said.
Deputy Mayor of Buenos Aires City Diego Santilli said Monday that the capital had witnesses "a growth in cases" in the last five days, seeing a "substantial" rise in the contagion curve, which had contributed to the decision.
Some other regions expressed concerns about the president's move as well, with Corrientes Province Governor Gustavo Valdés telling TN that he would "defer the decision for a week" after six new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in his district over the past week.
Santa Fe Governor Omar Perotti said that his regional government "would not" enable residents to leave for "recreation," adding that the decision would be evaluated every seven days.
Tucumán Province Governor Juan Manzur also said that "the conditions are not in place" to enable recreational outings in his region too.
Speaking Monday, President Fernández denied that there was any difference of opinion with the four regions and their leaders, saying the decision was always in their hands.
"Conditions for going out can be decided by each district," he said in comments reported by La Nación.