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Yucatan defies federal traffic light and begins 1st wave of reopenings

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The federal health system casts every state in Mexico at the highest level of alert.

Every state in Mexico is still at a “red light,” but Yucatan is moving forward with reopening the economy just the same.

So Yucatan is considering itself under the next stage, the “orange alert,” which still sets strict limits while allowing restaurants and hotels, offices and other “non-essential” businesses to welcome customers. Businesses have to register online to comply.

Hair salons, like Robert Abuda’s on the Paseo de Montejo, is open by appointment starting Monday. Only hair services will be done, no nails or makeup. “Masks are required. Staff will be wearing masks, face shields, and gloves. Every staff member has already been certified by Barbacide for COVID-19 protocols,” Abuda announced on social media. “Everyone’s health and safety is our utmost concern.”

Down the road, a well-loved bar and restaurant will stick to home-delivery for now.

“Hennessy’s Irish Pub will not be open on Monday, as we are not sure we can comply with all the COVID-19 protocols in such a short time and I need further clarification of many,” proprietor Sean Hennessy wrote on Facebook. Pita, a Mediterranean restaurant in Santa Lucia, posted a similar statement. Flamante Burgers & Friends in Santa Ana reported needing time to shuffle the furniture to allow diners to maintain “social distancing.”

Smaller shops can offer curbside service while bigger stores can operate at reduced capacity, as will hotels that decide to reopen. The largest hotels in Yucatan, such as the Hyatt Regency and the Fiesta Americana, did not indicate a Monday reopening.

The federal “traffic light” is issued each Thursday. Everyone stumbled out of the gate when the first such report, meant to begin a “new normal” on June 1, disqualified most everyone. A week later, even the one orange state of Zacatecas had been coded red because case numbers and hospital admissions rose.

The alert levels come from coronavirus data including case numbers, hospital admission trends, hospital occupancy levels and the percentage of people tested who are confirmed to have COVID-19.

Yucatan was guided by its own data in declaring an orange-level alert instead of red. The percentage of COVID-19 cases under intensive care and hospital-bed occupancy were labeled at the lowest level of alert. Hospital admissions, rates of contagion of the percentage of positive coronavirus tests each placed Yucatan at the second-highest crisis level of orange.

However, state health authorities have the power to override the federal traffic light and apply their own. Yucatan officials availed themselves of that privilege.

“We have determined that decisions in Yucatan are not made from Mexico City, but that it is the Yucatecan experts who make them in the state, therefore, we announce the start of wave one of our economic revival,” said Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal, complaining that the federal government did not take into account the hospital space made available at the Siglo XXI convention center and temporary facilities in Valladolid.

Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Durango, Nuevo León, Jalisco and Colima will also use their own data to determine the speed in which they gradually restart the economy, reported Expansión.

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