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Yucatán flips to green light, but protocols will be lifted gradually

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Yucatán has entered the lowest level of alert, but don’t expect crowds like this to return anytime soon. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Twenty months after the coronavirus pandemic reached Yucatán, the state has declared itself under “green” alert.

Green means “go” for Yucatán’s economic activity. But not entirely, and not right away.

On Monday, events can operate at 75% capacity until 2 a.m. while remaining under current protocols such as facemasks and sanitary filters. Full-capacity concerts and shows will be allowed starting Jan. 24. More specifics will be announced next week, government officials said.

The alert system is based on the red, yellow, and green traffic lights, with orange thrown in to represent the second-highest level of caution.

Each step came with its own set of health protocols, particularly limiting crowds. Weddings and other celebrations, restaurant dining and hotel capacity were all affected just as a building boom was underway. For a stretch, motor traffic was banned overnight. Scores of businesses did not survive the lockdown.

Green does not mean we are going back to pre-pandemic living in terms of social distancing, facemask wearing and hand-washing. It merely indicates the lowest level of health risk.

The color-coded system — which is updated every other Thursday based on hospital capacity, rate of infection and other data — was introduced in June 2020. It’s up to each state to decide how to apply each level of alert.

If anything, the semáforo (traffic light) system was confusing. The federal government had its own map, and considered Yucatán in yellow, then green well before local officials agreed to advance the colors. And the alerts didn’t have a particular set of guidelines to go along with them.

Mexico had already placed all of Mexico, except for Baja California Sur, in green.

Yucatán’s announcement came Thursday, as the much-anticipated national tourist fair was beginning to wind down. Daily infections have been under 50 for the better part of two weeks and hospitalizations were at 62, leaving ample capacity in pubic intensive-care units.

Health authorities also announced plans for several permanent coronavirus vaccine stations throughout the state.

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