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Playa Balandra in La Paz. The municipality plans to offer beach reservations through a new app. Playa Balandra in La Paz. The municipality plans to offer beach reservations through a new app.

Coronavirus restrictions to ease in Baja Sur as state drops risk level

Businesses can operate at higher capacity while churches, movie theaters and gyms may reopen

Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted further next week in Baja California Sur (BCS), the Ministry of Health reported, as the state moves from level 5, or critical risk, to level 4, considered high risk on the state’s health alert system. 

As of Monday, businesses will be able to operate at 40% capacity, up from 30%.

Churches, movie theaters and gyms may also reopen next week for the first time in five months. 

The easing of restrictions stems from the fact that the epidemiological curve has plateaued in BCS, officials report. “Thanks to the responsibility and sacrifices of thousands of people, today we are taking another step towards reopening,” Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis said Friday afternoon. 

The announcement was good news for the tourism-reliant resort towns of Los Cabos, which had the second-highest hotel occupancy in the country between August 10 and 16, Mexican Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco tweeted last week. Puerto Vallarta led the nation at  29.3% occupancy, while Los Cabos came in a close second at 27.4%

As of yesterday, the federal government reported 7,276 accumulated cases of the coronavirus in BCS, as well as 337 deaths, although the numbers are different from what the state lists. On the BCS website, which says it is updated in real time, 7,193 coronavirus cases have been reported and 370 deaths.

Hola Hernán

Cloudy skies and rainfall prevailed in BCS Friday as tropical depression Hernán rolled into the state east of Los Barriles with 75 km/h winds. The storm caused torrential rainfall in some parts of mainland Mexico as it worked its way north, but then lost considerable strength and was expected to further degenerate over the next 24 hours. 

Fiestas canceled

Loreto’s patron saint festivities, scheduled for September 6 through 8, have been canceled due to the coronavirus, the municipality reports. Normally the city celebrates with religious, civic and cultural activities and a statue of the Virgin of Loreto is paraded through the city’s streets as townspeople gather along the parade route. 

This year, the parade and other religious services will be carried out virtually, and residents are urged to remain in their homes, Peninsular Digital reports.

In Los Cabos, November’s popular international gastronomic festival, “Sabor a Cabo” will not take place this year. 

Each year more than 3,000 people attend the festival which kicks off the start of the high season. Attendees sample dishes from 60 different restaurants as well as wineries and tequila and mezcal distillers with profits going to charities such as the Red Cross and the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation.

The festival’s organizing committee said sponsors have dropped out so it will refocus its efforts on bringing a new and improved version of the festival to Los Cabos in 2021, possibly organizing around a Day of the Dead theme, Metropolimx reports.

Tacos on TV

Through the taco, Mexico has conquered the world, and the Netflix series The Taco Chronicles that was released last year paid homage to the many flavors and forms this revered dish can encompass. Season one of the Spanish-language docuseries profiled six different tacos, ranging from al pastor to barbacoa

Season two launches on September 15, and this time the series makes a stop in La Paz to explore the beauty of the fish taco, visiting the aptly named Taco Fish restaurant, a local favorite since 1992. 

Animal shelter has seen a 35% increase in homeless pets, and a large decrease in donations.
Animal shelter has seen a 35% increase in homeless pets, and a large decrease in donations.

Abandoned animals

Animal welfare activists in Los Cabos say that due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have seen a 35% increase in homeless pets and a 90% reduction in donations, cutting their staff to just four, BCS Noticias reports

The director of the Los Cabos Humane Society, Armando Martínez, says there may be as many as 90,000 pets roaming the streets. Support from municipal government is nonexistent, even though one of Mayor Armida Castro’s campaign promises was to protect animals, he says, and the organization is on the brink of collapse.

Adoptions are way down from normal levels. Currently, the society says, it adopts out just two or three animals a month, compared with 10 to 15 prior to the pandemic. 

Caught

After a car chase through the streets of La Paz, police detained two people for robbing an Oxxo storeroom. Inside the trunk, authorities found 400 cans of stolen beer of various brands and a pilfered package of noodle soup. Both men, who were 18, were arrested and jailed.

Also this week, the National Guard in San José del Cabo gave chase to a Chevrolet Aveo which ended up striking a post. After making sure the driver’s injuries were not life-threatening, officers found six packages of hybrid marijuana in the vehicle, labeled as Amnesia, Champagne, Hydrolotus and Matermase. They also found 40 packages of generic cannabis and six doses of cocaine. 

And in Cabo San Lucas, a man who was caught using the streets of Cabo San Lucas as a bathroom in full view of police officers was stopped and searched. On his person, police found two medium-sized packages of marijuana and another two of methamphetamine, BCS Noticias reports.

Beaches: there’s an app for that?

The president of the Hotel and Tourism Association in La Paz, Agustín Olachea Nogueda, announced this week that beaches in the municipality could potentially reopen, but by reservation only through an official app. “This application is new, it will be the only one in the country. It will also give excellent control to ensure the health of visitors to the beaches, and make it easy to control access to beaches,” he said. 

The announcement was met with consternation by La Paz residents who had many questions about how the app would be administered. They expressed concerns about whether a hotel could simply block out all available appointments for their guests and that access to the beaches would be limited to people who have smartphones. Some called it a step toward privatizing beaches in the municipality, El Sudcaliforniano reported.

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