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Despite pandemic, shoppers and vendors crowd the Historic Center

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Shoppers collide with vendors on crowded sidewalks in Mérida’s Centro Histórico. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

The influx of Christmas shoppers to the Historic Center continues to increase despite the coronavirus spread.

Street vendors have also returned to the sidewalks, further packing in the sidewalks.

Every day in the first half of this month, an estimated 250,000 came to shop or work. Then the traditional mid-December Christmas bonuses came, fueling public spending power.

As we approach Christmas Eve, those crowds are expected to exceed 300,000 each day, said Mayor Renán Barrera Concha.

And street vendors have resurfaced, frustrating both brick-and-mortar merchants, city officials and pedestrians.

“This problem is a never-ending issue,” said Barrera Concha. “When formal merchants complain about street vendors, then street vendors complain that they are not allowed to work.”

Barrera Concha said the city has not given up trying to encourage coronavirus protocols such as social distancing.

“But we can see that despite all the protocols that exist every day we see a greater traffic of people and greater mobility.” he said.

Barrera Concha commented that fortunately, the people of Merida are collaborative and respectful of sanitary measures. No arrests have been made for refusing to comply with rules requiring face masks.

“We have made calls for attention, reminders, but not arrests,” he said at an impromptu press conference.

In the last month, an average of 95 new coronavirus cases and six deaths have been reported every day. Seven out of every 100 COVID-19 cases in Yucatán are fatal.

On Tuesday alone, 76 more coronavirus infections were detected in a single day, mostly in Mérida. Seven patients perished.

But much of the public feels the pandemic is under control, which creates a “false confidence” and “leads us to lower our guard, which is dangerous for the state,” said Dr. Manuel Baeza Bacab, a specialist in clinical immunology.

With information from: Diario de Yucatán, SSY

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