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Seeing red: Yucatan’s recovery stalls out at the traffic light

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All but one state in Mexico has started out in red under the “traffic light” system of allowing a “new normal.” Photo: Courtesy

On the road to a “new normal,” Yucatan is stalled at a red light.

The federal “traffic light” system began Thursday, a signal to states who can start letting businesses open again, and who has to wait. Green, yellow or red signals will correspond to local coronavirus data.

Yucatan hasn’t yet reached a curve in the arc, recording 11 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours, according to the health ministry’s most recent report. The cumulative death toll from the disease reached 181 on Thursday.

That means only essential activities, plus some manufacturing operations that operate under foreign trade agreements, can continue, a condition that has existed since April 1. Mainly, the lockdown allows hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores to operate. Restaurants can deliver food, but not open dining rooms, and bars are shut down completely.

Rafael Hernández Kotasek, Yucatan’s secretary of planning and evaluation, said the unpredictable nature of coronavirus infections and deaths makes it impossible to estimate when the economy will reopen.

However, he stated that infection trends indicate that Yucatan is reaching the peak, with a decline expected in the next two weeks.

“Progress will depend on the behavior of the people: if they go out obeying strict protocols and avoid the contagion, outbreaks will not exceed the hospital capacity; companies must also behave very strictly in sanitary measures so that they do not push us back and delay the reactivation plan,” said Hernández Kotasek.

In the private sector, particularly among merchants and restaurateurs, anxiety is rising.

“We cannot continue with the curtains closed, there is already despair,” said Michel Salum Francis, president of the Canaco de Mérida, the local business guild.

Only one state, Zacatecas, will be allowed to enter the “first wave” of economic recovery on Monday.

Source: Diario de Yucatan

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