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Sunday, November 27, 2022

New business closures remind Yucatecos the COVID-19 pandemic is not over

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Another 18 businesses were shut down this weekend for not following COVID-19 protocols despite a generally more relaxed atmosphere amid dramatically decreasing infection rates. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Several restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have been shut down for failing to follow Yucatán’s COVID-19 guidelines. 

Some of the businesses shut down by authorities included Candys, Tropicana, Luca Paseo de Montejo, Like Pensiones, Calásico Magnus, and Catrín. 

The closures come despite the fact that Yucatán is currently green, the lowest level of alert on México’s epidemiological traffic light system.

However, authorities are keen to remind everyone that under green, society can operate nearly as normal, though facemasks and social distancing protocols are still mandatory, especially indoors.

“After two years of living with the pandemic, everyone is tired of these regulations, but it’s extremely important that we don’t let our guard down and backtrack as a result,” said Yucatán’s health minister, Mauricio Sauri Vivas.

The 18 businesses shut down over the weekend face fines of up to 180,000 pesos or the equivalent of roughly $US8,500.

Also caught during the crackdown was a large clandestine party held out at the beach, where several individuals were arrested for drug possession. 

Earlier: Controversial potted plant roadblocks being removed from Mérida’s streets

But despite the government’s insistence on adhering to COVID-19 protocols, undeniable signs that life is beginning to return to normal are evident everywhere. 

One of the most visible signs of this change includes packed shopping malls, entertainment venues, and retailers, as well as a considerable increase in both domestic and international tourism. 

Unlike in the United States or Canada, in Yucatán people living in rural communities appear to still be using face masks at a higher rate than in cities like Mérida or Valladolid. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Though over the past year or so, it has been tourists who have been the most nonchalant about the uses of facemasks, now a growing amount of locals can also be seen walking down city streets with no mask or simply wearing them below their chin. 

COVID-19 cases in Yucatán plunged another 77% this past week and deaths fell from an average of eight a day to three, doctors said Saturday.

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