The closure of schools, universities and some businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a significant decline in traffic in Mexico City this week.
The Mexico City Security Ministry (SSC) said in a statement that there were 61% fewer vehicles on the road at 8:00 a.m. Monday compared to the same time on a regular work and school day. At 6:00 p.m., the start of the evening peak hour, traffic was down 49%, the SSC said.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum posted a graph to her Twitter account that showed that traffic was 1% lighter at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday compared to the same time the day before – a 62% reduction compared to a normal weekday.
Sheinbaum also reported that there have been 60% fewer passengers on the capital’s metro and Metrobús systems this week.
The mayor urged Mexico City residents last Thursday to “be responsible” and remain in their homes in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. She has also ordered the temporary closure of movie theaters, sports centers, museums, bars and nightclubs.
Many have heeded the call to stay at home but for some, such as street vendors, not going out to work is untenable because they depend on their daily earnings to support themselves and their families.
Still, pedestrian traffic is notably lighter in the normally bustling streets of the capital’s downtown area.
The government department responsible for the historic center reported that pedestrian numbers on Calle Madero, Mexico City’s busiest pedestrian street, were down more than 70% and that there were between 30% and 50% fewer shoppers than normal across the downtown area.
To encourage even more people not to go out, Sheinbaum told a press conference on Tuesday that the government will launch a Quédate en Casa, or Stay at Home, campaign.
She said that the campaign will be promoted via advertisements at metro and Metrobús stations and on television, radio, social media and in newspapers.
The challenge, Sheinbaum added, is “not to infect [others] and not become infected” with Covid-19. She reiterated that people with coronavirus symptoms should not go to a medical center or hospital but text “covid19” to the number 51515 to get medical attention from the government.
The mayor also said that authorities will impose sanctions on businesses not complying with the directive to shut. Businesses could have their permits temporarily revoked and also face fines of between 30,994 and 217,200 pesos (US $1,300-$9,000).