Saturday, June 15, 2024

As temperatures climb into the 40s, beaches reopen in Baja

Baja California Sur (BCS) began easing coronavirus restrictions on Monday, when most nonessential businesses were allowed to reopen (construction and mining sectors went back to work at the beginning of June). 

Some hotels also opened for tourism at a limited capacity, and more are expected to do so on July 1. 

The state reported that 67 businesses that opened across BCS despite not being permitted to do so have been closed down. Among those operating illegally were gyms, party and event venues, bars that don’t serve meals and a strip club in Cabo San Lucas.

As temperatures soared to 44 C in some parts of the state this week, beaches were once again opened to the public, although they will operate with limited capacity and hours. 

However, reopening the economy has, predictably, lead to a dramatic uptick in cases of the coronavirus, which have more than doubled thus far in June, the governor stated, as he urged residents to follow sanitary protocols. 

At least 11 workers from the salt works in Guerrero Negro have tested positive for the coronavirus and many of its 720 workers have been asked to self-isolate, the company confirmed on Friday to BCS Noticias. The evaporative salt plant, located on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula in the northern part of the state, is the largest salt works in the world, producing 9 million tonnes of salt a year. 

The company says it is taking strict health precautions with its remaining workers, and that those who are sick are being provided with health care and food. “We will not let our guard down, we will take care of our families,” the plant’s director said. 

One of the hardest-hit cities in the state economically speaking is tourism-driven Cabo San Lucas, where some 95 cruise ships have canceled their arrivals to the popular port city since the coronavirus pandemic began, and losses are estimated at US $19 million, BCS Noticias reports. The Tourism Ministry noted that 600,000 cruise ship passengers were expected to disembark in Cabo San Lucas this year, but only 200,000 have done so thus far.

As of Friday, BCS had 1,128 cases of the coronavirus and had seen 64 deaths.

Body cameras for La Paz police

La Paz’s director of transportation, Camilo Torres Mejía, announced last week that the municipality purchased 119 body cameras in March for the city’s police force. 

The cameras, which are not in use yet pending training, are meant to protect both citizens and officers, Torres said. 

“It is mutual protection, on the one hand, because we have honestly had several cases where citizens disagree with us and become aggressive, and this allows us to see how the event occurred. On the other hand, this will inhibit bribery known as la mordida,” he said, according to BCS Noticias.

Big fish

Bisbee’s announced this week that its annual series of fishing tournaments will go on as scheduled this year, albeit with health protocols in place. 

The first tournament, the East Cape Offshore, takes place in Buenavista August 4 through 8, the Los Cabos Offshore will run October 15 through 18, and the main event, Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, will take place in Cabo San Lucas October 20 through 24, Diario el Independiente reports. 

Founded in 1981, the Black and Blue regularly sees 150 teams compete for millions of dollars in prize money. In 2006 the tournament awarded its biggest cash prize ever of US $4.16 million, the largest payout in sportsfishing history.

Sardines caused a stink.
Sardines caused a stink.

Small fish

Last weekend thousands of dead sardines washed up on the shores of Punto Chivato, causing quite a stir — and a smell — among locals who suspected that the dead fish were due to commercial sardine boats from Sonora who left the excess fish behind as they filled their hulls to overflowing. 

Not so, announced the National Fisheries Commission on Tuesday. The dead fish were not a result of wanton waste, but rather the consequence of a net accidentally breaking on one of the fishing boats, causing the fish to spill into the water.

Water woes

BCS Noticias reports that on Wednesday the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cut off power to Mulegé’s water pumps due to an unpaid debt of 5 million pesos (US $113,225), leaving the city without running water.

“We regret the decision of the CFE, since we consider that we are still within the contingency period, and the use of the vital liquid to maintain hygiene is important and necessary,” said the town’s water utility. 

The municipality of Loreto could soon find itself in a similar situation as the CFE is threatening to do the same thing there. 

Movie time

While indoor movie theaters will be one of the last sectors of the economy to open, Cabo San Lucas has found a workaround. News agency Metropolimex reports that a new drive-in theater, the first of its kind in Los Cabos, will open in a parking lot at the Cabo San Lucas marina. 

Cine Club Los Cabos is set to open the Del Mar drive-in in July and has received the blessing of state health authorities. 

Nationally and internationally, drive-ins are seeing a resurgence in popularity due to coronavirus concerns.

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