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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Poll: Progreso residents favor stricter roadblocks to keep outsiders away

Port announces 1st case of coronavirus, ramping up concerns at the beach

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Cars line up to enter Progreso on Good Friday, a major vacation day. Photo: Facebnook

The day the Port’s first case of COVID-19 was announced, a survey showed the vast majority of Progreso residents were in favor of stronger roadblocks keeping outsiders away.

The unscientific poll by Progreso Hoy received more than 1,500 votes in one hour. Of those, 93% voted to close access to Progreso to non-residents who cannot provide a voter ID card.

That would leave out anyone whose main residence is elsewhere, whether Merida or another country, even if they own property there. Roadblocks have been more lenient. Showing utility bills to indicate property ownership has gotten drivers through check points in Progreso and elsewhere.

Despite closing the malecon, the beach and most restaurants, Holy Week vacationers have indeed made their way to the port city, including Chelem and Chuburná Puerto, which are made up of numerous rental homes.

Residents fear outsiders will bring with them the coronavirus.

Before the poll was initiated on Facebook, Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi announced Progreso’s first coronavirus case. The patient was not named, but was described as a man around 70. He and his wife are both under quarantine, said the mayor.

The announcement, also on social media, was followed by some residents’ demand to know his address. Others defended the man’s right to privacy. The mayor did not disclose any personal information about the patient.

Shortly after, faced with the concerns of the public, the mayor shared a thought and a music video.

“Today thinking about what we are experiencing in the world, I remembered the video ‘We Are the World,’ ” he said, posting a Luciano Pavarotti version of the song from the late 1990s.

The mayor has repeatedly insisted that hygiene measures must be enforced to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Various surveillance measures have been taken, including sanitary checkpoints on major streets. Drones have been used to break up social gatherings and to spray disinfectant on public spaces.

Earlier, cruise ship arrivals were suspended, even when ships were still sailing. Even the municipal palace was fenced in with metal barricades and is kept under surveillance by police. At night, police patrols call people to return to their homes and remind everyone that they are not on vacation.

But on Good Friday, hundreds of visitors arrived at the port, forming long lines at the entrance to the municipality where passengers were screened for symptoms.

Although Punto Medio was told that travelers’ cars were checked for vacation luggage, Progreso Hoy reports that drivers have little problem getting past the checkpoints.

Still, the beach is nowhere near as packed as it normally would be on a hot and sunny Easter holiday.

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