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Saturday, September 18, 2021

The light turns yellow: Yucatán loosens pandemic restrictions after nearly a year

New, easier restrictions announced at 8:30 p.m. Thursday

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our top headlines will appear in your inbox each Monday and Thursday.
After nearly a year, Yucatán has loosened coronavirus protocols, moving from orange to yellow on the epidemiological traffic signal. Photo: Getty

After nearly a year at the second-highest stage of alert, Yucatán announced it was loosening coronavirus protocols. That means the state has moved from orange to yellow on the epidemiological traffic signal.

The news came as state health officials announced 95 new infections and seven deaths in the last 24 hours. Hospital beds are ample in public hospitals, as well, in contrast to the ICU crisis that peaked in July 2020 when overflow patients were sent to a makeshift ward at a convention center.

What does life look like at the yellow light? Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal will share details at 8:30 Thursday evening.

But already, concert venues are selling tickets for indoor events. Earlier today, the head of the state Ministry of Culture and Arts, Érika Millet Corona, declared that if the traffic light change, cultural centers would increase from 30 to 50% capacity.

In the historic center of Mérida, a beauty institute in the Centro announced face-to-face classes starting in May. 

The Fantasio theater downtown and the Foro in the north have begun selling tickets. At the latter venue, Los Temerarios have a May 29 concert booked, according to a billboard.

Yucatán joins 19 Mexican states under yellow alert, including Quintana Roo. Another eight are in green, the least restrictive level, including its other peninsular neighbor, Campeche. Five are in orange and none are in red alert, a lockdown of nonessential businesses.

The state has been cautious about shedding precautions. In November, Mexico declared Yucatán a “yellow” state, but officials here rejected the idea and kept businesses, schools and other areas of public life under the more stringent protocols.

The color codes are symbolic of precautions that each state handles slightly differently. Curfews, restaurant and theater capacity, and the ability to hold indoor church services or parties are all in play.

The decision was driven by these data points:
• Percentage of total intensive care occupancy: 30.5% and in green
• Percentage of occupancy of total hospital beds: 51.6% in yellow and on the rise
• Increase in hospital admissions over the previous week: in yellow and on the rise
• The rate of contagiousness of the coronavirus 0.96, in green and decreasing
• The positivity of cases is 39.3%, in orange and descending

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