New measures that begin today, severely limiting occupancy in private cars, was derided by critics as elitist.
Yucatan’s Phase-3 coronavirus contingencies disallow drivers from allowing passengers in private cars, but let Uber or taxis to carry one rider in the back seat. Fines can be assessed as high as 43,000 pesos with three days in jail.
“I keep my bubble virus free and now I must expand it to strangers by using Uber,” complained one commenter.
That means drivers cannot drop family members off to their workplace. A couple that shares a bed cannot share a car, critics on social media pointed out. Only families affluent enough to own multiple cars can get around the new rules, residents note.
But sharing taxies, a money-saving move made by the budget conscious, is now unlawful. Commuters may have to turn to public transportation which brings them in contact with more people potentially spreading the virus.
“My sister works in a gas station whose premises are on the highway to Progreso and three times a week she leaves at 10 p.m. She does not know how to drive. With this new provision we will no longer be able to go for it and you will have to pay for a taxi or private transport to return home,” said one woman.
The rule also makes it illegal to leave the house without a face mask, but those are hard to find and are being sold at premium prices, Facebook commenters said.
But the governor insisted that extreme measures are warranted, citing a record-breaking number of fatalities as well as the new cases that occurred on Thursday alone.
“Today we had the worst day since the coronavirus arrived in Yucatan, with 35 new infections and 3 deaths,” Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal said Thursday. “I know it is difficult, but to those who have followed the preventive measures all this time, I ask a little more effort. And to those who have not yet done so, I ask that you please take it seriously.”
More road blocks
Further restricting traffic, authorities have also closed off 10 of 27 entrances to the Periférico, the ring road that circles Merida.
The state Ministry of Public Security’s road operation, beginning today, includes increased sanitary check points, detours, partial closings and restrictions on movement in the Centro and in neighborhoods in all directions. Police will help drivers find alternate routes.
In the north, the ring road will be accessible only from Calle 60 Norte and avenidas Andrés García Lavín and República de Corea.
From the west, drivers will be limited to Calle 11 de Lindavista, Avenida Jacinto Canek, Avenida Anikabil, Calle 41 de Juan Pablo II and Avenida Internacional-Aviación.
In the southern sector of Mérida, the only accesses to the Periférico will be calles 60, 50 and 42 .
In the East, access ways to the highway are only at avenidas 69, Quetzalcóatl, Fidel Velázquez, Calle 35 at Los Héroes, Avenida 35 to Chichí Suárez and the Motul exit at Avenida Yucatán.