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Yachts in Yucatan sail away to party elsewhere

Boaters head to more permissive waters on the Caribbean side, waiting out coronavirus contingencies, leaving workers in Yucatan high and dry

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The exodus of yachts to the Mexican Caribbean continues, to the expense of Progreso’s economy. Photo: Diario de Yucatan

The exodus of yachts to the other side of the Peninsula has been ongoing since mid-July when marinas at Yucalpetén were closed again under coronavirus contingencies.

As pleasure boats dock on the Mexican Caribbean, dozens of sailors, fiber workers, electricians and carpenters in the Progreso area are out of work, Diario de Yucatan reported.

The newspaper estimates that since July 16, the day the marinas closed again and recreational navigation was prohibited, some 500 pleasure boats including yachts and tourist boats headed to more permissive ports at Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Isla Mujeres. That is where there are no restrictions on navigation or the number of crew or guests on party boats.

The state government brought down the hammer as COVID-19 cases increased and images of packed pleasure boats went viral on social media. A ban on alcohol sales and a nightly road curfew was also initiated.

A few days later, large yachts set sail from port to port on a coastal voyage while smaller recreational boats crossed by land, hauled by trailers.

July’s restrictions expire Saturday unless lawmakers renew the measure. But by then, summer vacation will be quickly winding down.

One worker told Diario, however, that he fears that partying boaters will return to Yucatan carrying the very virus Yucatan’s restrictions were meant to contain.

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