The government of Guerrero has implemented red light restrictions as the southern state faces what the governor described as “the worst moment of the pandemic.”
Guerrero switched to maximum risk red on the stoplight map on Wednesday and will remain that color until February 14, according to a decree published by Governor Héctor Astudillo.
Maximum capacity levels in businesses including hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and supermarkets have been reduced to 30% as a result of the red light decree. Beaches, public swimming pools, gymnasiums and places of worships are also limited to 30% of normal capacity. Businesses and public places are not permitted to open before 7:00 a.m. and must close by 5:00 p.m.
Cinemas, theaters, museums, bars, nightclubs, party halls and casinos must remain closed while red light restrictions remain in place and large events such as weddings and 15th birthday parties are prohibited.
“We have to suspend all nonessential activities,” Astudillo said in a video message.
“… We’re in the worst moment of the pandemic. We’re going through the worst moment because infections are increasing. This is the point at which we all must be responsible, and the first person you must take care of is yourself. You must also look after your family,” the governor said, noting that virus transmission among families is a risk.
“… We have to prevent death. … Let’s be responsible, let’s stay at home, let’s together reduce Covid-19 infections,” Astudillo said.
Guererro’s death toll passed 3,000 on Wednesday, according to state government data, while the Pacific coast state has recorded just over 30,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
Cases, deaths and hospital occupancy have all risen this month after hundreds of thousands of tourists, including many from coronavirus hotspot areas such as Mexico City and México state, descended on destinations such as Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa over the Christmas-New Year vacation period.
State Health Minister Carlos de la Peña Pinto said two weeks ago that Guerrero was already “starting to pay the bill for what we lived through during December.”
Hospitals in Taxco and Iguala have filled up with virus patients in recent weeks and case numbers have increased in cities including Acapulco, where the health system is also under severe pressure, and state capital Chilpancingo.
Across the Guerrero health system, 74% of general care beds set aside for coronavirus patients are occupied, according to federal data.
The announcement that red light restrictions were being reimposed triggered concern among business owners and workers, who warned of the economic impact of the tighter rules.
“I was honestly expecting the news – after December it was obvious. But I’m not prepared for this, I’ve been unprepared for Covid for a year, the truth is it’s impossible to prepare for something like this,” Pascual Verdeja, a hotel manager in Acapulco, told the EFE news agency.
A bar manager in the same city said that he and his team of 15 employees will struggle to put food on their tables “because we live day to day.”
In other Covid news:
• Municipal authorities in La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS), have placed new restrictions on business opening hours due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases. All nonessential businesses, including restaurants, bars and tourism operators, must close by 11:00 p.m. every day of the week. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in restaurants and 9:00 p.m. in supermarkets and stores. The local government didn’t say how long the restrictions, which took effect Tuesday, would remain in place.
La Paz authorities also said that large social and family gatherings are banned and reminded citizens that the use of face masks is mandatory on public transit.
The state capital currently has more active cases – 817 – than any other municipality in BCS, according to the state government. La Paz also ranks highest among the state’s five municipalities for Covid-19 deaths, with 453 since the start of the pandemic.
BCS, currently high risk orange on the federal government coronavirus stoplight map, has recorded 22,573 cases and 1,006 deaths.
• For a second consecutive day, a new single-day record for Covid-19 deaths was set in Mexico City on Wednesday. The city government reported 464 additional fatalities, a figure 27% higher than the previous record of 365 deaths, which was set Tuesday.
The capital’s Covid-19 death toll is now 27,943, which equates to 18% of Mexico’s overall total of 153,639 fatalities. Mexico City’s accumulated case tally is 462,892, which accounts for just over one-quarter of all cases detected across the country.
The case tally in the capital, which has faced red light restrictions since December 19, is higher than the combined total of the 19 Mexican states with the lowest number of confirmed cases.
México state ranks second for both cases and fatalities, according to federal data, while Guanajuato ranks third for cases and Jalisco has the third highest death toll.