Several urban sub-centers need to be strengthened as areas in which more commercial units could be settled.

The gradual reestablishment of services and procedures in the capital of the province of Las Tunas can become an opportunity to consolidate decentralized schemes of distribution and sale of goods in high demand, according to authorities of this territory when analyzing this process.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- From August 21 to date, the municipality of Las Tunas ceased to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province, since its incidence rate of autochthonous positive cases fell from the top position among its similar at the beginning of that month to the second-lowest in the territory at the end of September and even moved to the last place so far in October.

This change allowed the Temporary Government Group for the prevention and control of the pandemic to gradually withdraw the extreme limitations in force since last month. The most recent step was the resumption of operations of private passenger carriers within the urban environment of the territorial capital.

In tune with this drop of SARS-CoV-2 infections, the main city businesses and common areas of the self-employed returned to their usual activity, as well as the offices of various procedures, including bank branches and commercial units of the Electricity and Telecommunications companies. A dozen state-owned gastronomic establishments and those belonging to the Palmares extra-hotel network, together with state and private restaurants and gyms, also did the same. All this, after approval of the specialists of Hygiene and Epidemiology, because the norms of distancing, use of mask and disinfection of surfaces are still in force.

However, in the first analyses on this process made by the main authorities of the Party and the Government in this territory, it became clear that in the de-escalation pre-pandemic organizational styles have persisted, such as the placement of high demand products in few establishments, often nestled in the historic center of the city.

"To the extent that services are resumed they should think about how it is done and maintain the sale in the neighborhoods," reflected Manuel Perez Gallego, first secretary of the Party in the province. Similar practices, said the member of the Party Central Committee, should continue in the sale of agricultural products, taking advantage of the network of 757 points of sale in the Capital of Cuban Sculpture, of which 51 are small squares.

"Several stores, banks, and other offices with a high influx of people are concentrated in just four blocks of the city center," said Jaime Chiang Vega, the governor. With this phrase, he illustrated the grouping, in a proportionally reduced space, of places to which a large number of people are obliged to go to carry out different procedures.

"We cannot return to the old normality", he warned, referring to the large crowds usually observed around commercial units such as El Serrucho or La Reguladora before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Studies conducted by urban planning experts here indicate that in this capital city several urban sub-centers need to be strengthened as areas in which more commercial units could be settled for commerce, procedures, or basic services that would avoid the relocation and eventual concentration of population in the historic center. These, according to the Urban Development Plan submitted to the approval of the Municipal Administration Council in 2020, are El Tanque de Buena Vista, Casa Piedra, El Ferrocarril, the Aguilera district, Revolution Plaza, or San Antonio. Something similar, the survey indicated, should be done in the medium and long term in districts such as Las 40 and La Victoria. Such decentralization, they concluded, would also lighten the burden on the public transportation system.