Good Friday is a major holiday in Mexico, a majority Catholic country, and a day when fish, not red meat, is on the menu for people of faith.
It’s a tradition that drew dense crowds of thousands to the San Luis Mextepec seafood market near Toluca yesterday, where customers disregarded coronavirus recommendations by cramming into vendors’ stalls to purchase fresh fish, octopus and shrimp for the Lent holiday.
Entire families, including babies, senior citizens and in one case even the family dog, showed up en masse to make their purchases, spilling off the sidewalks and into the streets.
Police, the National Guard and market security guards were on hand to enforce social distancing measures, but market-goers refused to comply, and some even got into heated discussions with authorities who tried to prevent entire families from visiting vendors’ stalls together.
The Easter season represents the high season for the more than 50 tenants of this market, who say sales have been down 30 to 80% due to the coronavirus.
Similar situations occurred in other markets around Mexico, such as in Jalisco’s Zapopan Seafood Market where vendors were given verbal warnings and threatened with fines if they refused to comply with sanitary measures.
Access was limited to 50 market-goers at a time, more than 900 sanitary masks were distributed, and shoppers and vendors were given clear instructions on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
Even the governor of Jalisco weighed in on the situation, tweeting on Thursday, “if you have to go out and buy food or the essentials, don’t take company with you. We can’t continue like this. Without solidarity, we are going to lose innocent lives because of a few irresponsible people.”