Peru’s oldest bullfighting arena now COVID-19 facility for homeless elderly

Published On April 13, 2020 | By Parmisse Menendez | COVID-19, International, News
Parmisse Menéndez

Jorge Muñoz, the mayor of Lima, is using the Peruvian capital’s bullfighting arena to quarantine 122 homeless people in a safe place rather than on the streets.

Muñoz temporarily renamed the oldest bullfighting arena in Latin America, Plaza de Acho as the “La casa de todos,” or everybody’s house.

Elderly homeless are the priority in “La casa de todos.” (Reuters/Sebastian Castañeda)

The mayor said it has the space to receive 150 people but only 122 homeless people were housed because of social distancing. Homeless persons older than 60 are the priority.

Once the elderly arrive at the arena they are checked by doctors and other professionals to determine if they are really in need or if they have family they could rely on. The homeless receive three meals per day, as well as clean clothes, showers and the opportunity to do activities.

This measure will last until the expected end of quarantine on April 26 but the mayor said these people are not going back to the streets. Plans are being worked out to ensure they are no longer homeless.

Activist Sonia Cano, who is a neighbour of the arena, tries to help the elderly homeless.

“I am happy this arena is finally useful, and it is helping Peruvians in need, I thank Mr. Muñoz for doing this,” Cano said. “I hope the mayor will continue to help the homeless.”

Another issue among activists is the large number of stray dogs and how the quarantine has restricted them from travelling through the city to rescue dogs and cats..

According to Association Voz Animal, there are around six million abandoned dogs in Peru with four million in Lima, an issue that moved people around the country to take the issue seriously and rescue animals.

Anonymous donors help fund Evelyn Mosquera rescue dogs and prepare them for adoption.

“It is tough to be everywhere, trying to take care of my rescued dogs, receiving messages from people who ask me to rescue and cure a new animal,” Mosquera said.

“Nowadays is even worse, we have to move from one district to another to save a life, and because of the COVID-19 situation sometimes is difficult to save a life,” she said.

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