Approximately 400,000 people are expected to crowd the streets of Mérida’s Centro on Christmas Eve.
In preparation, municipal authorities and police say they will be taking extra measures to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19 infection.
Police say that aside from maintaining social distancing and wearing facemasks at all times, people should be aware of their surroundings as pickpockets in the area will also be out in force.
Additional police officers will be stationed at spots near banks and businesses known for being the target of thieves.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to stay safe during this holiday season, but Mérida’s police will be on hand to help out and offer help and aid to anyone who needs it,” said Mayor Renán Barrera Concha.
The numbers in Mérida’s streets, shopping malls, and event venues stand in stark contrast to this time last year when the city remained in a virtual lockdown.
Drastic measures such as a dry law and curfew have been lifted, but health professionals worry that increased mobility and more relaxed attitudes will mean a serious uptick of infections for the new year.
New cases of COVID-19 have remained low in Mérida and across Yucatán over the past several weeks while new strains including the Omicron variants spread around the world. New daily cases were at 18 on Wednesday compared to 44 a month earlier. Daily infections have occasionally dipped to single digits since Dec. 12.
However, health authorities are warning against complacency as new and even more contagious variants are likely to arrive shortly on the Yucatán Peninsula.