The latest numbers
Yucatan added one confirmed COVID-19 case to its official tally, which is now at 54.
Through Thursday, 177 out of 300 suspected cases have been ruled out in Yucatan; 69 are still under study.
According to the Yucatan Health Secretariat, 34 COVID-19 patients have recovered and another 15 are in stable condition, exhibiting mild symptoms and isolated in their homes and constantly monitored by SSY medical personnel. Five are in the hospital in serious condition. No deaths in Yucatan have yet been reported.
The Mexican government this week declared a health emergency after the number of coronavirus cases in the country passed 1,000. On Thursday it reported 1,510 cases and 50 deaths.
Merida begins blocking cars from entering the heart of the Centro starting today. Doing so will allow pedestrians more “social distancing” space and ease the path for important deliveries of medicines and food.
Police will divert most private vehicles at Calle 62 between 63 and 61; Calle 60 between 65, 63, 61 and 59; Calle 58 between 65, 63, 61, 59, 57 and 55; and Calle 56 between 65, 63, 61, 59 and 57.
“Thank you for your understanding and please #stay home,” the City Hall Facebook page declared.
Police were still clearing parks and sidewalks of congregating people who ignored the city’s orders to “stay at home.” On the coast, beaches are officially closed, but authorities are still finding the occasional resident who can’t resist a stroll on the sand.
Modelo threatens to close
A rumored ban on alcohol sales in Merida didn’t happen today, but a beer shortage could still occur.
Grupo Modelo, the huge international brewer, said it will suspend beer production and marketing operations in Mexico beginning Sunday due to the coronavirus health emergency.
The company has eight plants in Mexico, including one built in 2017 in Hunucmá. It produces 46 brands, including Corona Extra, Corona Cero, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial, Pacífico and Victoria. Modelo also imports Budweiser, Bud Light, Goose Island IPA and Stella Artois brands.
In a statement, the company indicated that it is in the process of reducing production at its plants to minimum capacity, but could guarantee the continued flow of beer if the federal government reverses a ruling that breweries are “non-essential.”
“The government recognizes agro-industry as an essential activity, with beer being one of the most important components of this industry and the main agro-industrial product for export. More than 15,000 families benefit from the sowing of 150,000 hectares a year of malted barley,” Grupo Modelo said.
“In the event that the government considers it appropriate to issue some clarification confirming beer as an agro-industrial product, at Grupo Modelo we are ready to execute a plan with more than 75% of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer,” Modelo continued.
The pain would not only be felt by employees thrown out of a job. Modelo noted that 40% of the income of 800,000 stores and grocers is from beer sales.
More bans on alcohol sales
In Tinúm, a municipality directly west of Valladolid, was the latest town in Yucatan to establish a “ley seca,” or “dry law” that not only closes bars, but liquor sales in stores and supermarkets.
Some communities were allowed to delay the measure until Sunday to give them time to sell surplus merchandise.
Police said they would patrol streets to ensure residents are staying inside.
Mayor Natalia Mis Mex said the city would hire 50 people who lost their jobs when the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá was closed to the public.
In Dzidzantún, one of many towns where a “dry law” is in effect, police confiscated several cartons of Tecate beer that a bus passenger had apparently intended to sell clandestinely.
Merida continues to hold off a ban on alcohol sales, but residents appear still shaken by a prank last week that falsely stated a sudden “ley seca” in the capital city. Another rumor on social media warned of a dry law beginning Thursday night, but official information channels from city hall have been silent on the issue.
Mayor Renán Barrera will host a Facebook Live event at noon today, inviting questions from the public.
Sources: Local media report, press releases