Decreasing coronavirus infections and the Hanal Pixan holiday weekend appear to have combined to bring back an issue that until now appeared dormant. Noise.
Complaints about excessive party noises have been increasingly common on social media.
It’s the sign of Merida’s high-season awakening. Tourists also appear to be returning, at least on weekends. A tour bus this morning at Parque Santa Ana was loading early-morning travelers apparently heading back home. And house parties are also on the rise, as anecdotal reports on Facebook groups indicate.
An American living behind the former Flor de Santiago coffeehouse, now a late-night club, “has opened up in full force.”
“Blaring music and loud yelling with a few screams,” the neighbor said on a Facebook group for Chelem residents. “They never followed the published noise regulations before, so here we go again — not following the current stipulations.”
A resident at the beach asked what can be done about a next-door neighbor whose “disco crew” played thumping music that rattled her house. Not much, commenters replied, except trying to reason with the partiers. “Choose your battles,” one said.
Another was more pessimistic: “Police don’t do anything about noise, ever,” she said. “Believe me, I’ve tried. I was in sheer misery last night until 3 a.m., the music booming so loud my walls were literally shaking. I’m really really tired of this inconsiderate bulls—.”
Noise complaints don’t always elicit sympathy, even from expats: “It’s Day of the Dead weekend — give them a break and enjoy Mexico,” replied one group member.
City and state officials are still tamping down on social activity under coronavirus contingencies.
Public Hanal Pixan activities, such as the street procession and display of altars at the Plaza Grande, are canceled. State officials are asking that celebrations remain at home, with limited crowd sizes. But enforcement remains a challenge when the rules apply to private spaces.
“It is extremely important that people become aware that anyone can become infected and infect people who are more vulnerable to acquiring a serious illness from COVID-19 or leading to death,” said Dr. Carlos Benito Armenta Hernández, head of the Department of Promotion and Education.
He emphasized that no vaccine exists for COVID-19, which is highly contagious and is spread mainly in the air.
“It is necessary to reflect on the health repercussions of COVID-19,” Armenta Hernández said. “Many families have lost loved ones during the pandemic.”
The Social Security specialist stressed that protection measures must be continued: correct use of face masks, hand hygiene, avoid touching the face, maintaining a healthy distance, not attending gatherings even if they are small, staying home and preferably going out only for essential activities.
Armenta Hernández pointed out that to avoid crowds, particularly for the Day of the Dead festivities, it is advisable to celebrate at home, but without inviting other family members or friends.
“At home you can make the traditional altar of the dead and share images with friends and family through social networks, comment with family members on the meaning of each object that the altar contains, make a dinner to remember the good times with loved ones who are no longer with us, if possible with the foods that they liked and see pictures of when they lived, all without the need to leave,” he said.
Regarding girls and boys going out to the streets to ask for “calaverita,” the traditional Day of the Dead sugar skulls, Armenta Hernández said that it is preferable that this year they stay at home and carry out activities such as costume contests, games, cooking with parents, watch movies and find alternative and fun ways to spend time as a family.
“The less we expose our children to contagion the better,” he said.