The risk of coronavirus infection according to the federal government’s “stoplight” system switched from orange light “high” to yellow light “medium” in nine states on Monday, prompting authorities in all but one to ease at least some restrictions.
Ten of Mexico’s 32 states are now yellow light states as Campeche made the switch to that color on August 17.
According to a report by the newspaper La Jornada, the governments of Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Campeche, Guerrero, Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Veracruz all eased some restrictions on Monday in line with their shift to the “medium” risk level.
But authorities in Tabasco decided to postpone the switch to yellow light status until Monday of next week.
In Chihuahua, which has recorded 7,710 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,139 deaths, the government decided to keep 57 of the state’s 67 municipalities at orange light status, allowing only 10 municipalities on or near the border with the United States to make the switch to yellow.
In those municipalities, among which are Juárez, Janos and Nuevo Casas Grandes, bars and places of worship were permitted to reopen at 30% capacity on Monday. Swimming pools and sports centers were also allowed to reopen for the first time in five months.
In the rest of Chihuahua, entertainment venues and places of worship are only allowed to operate at 15% capacity while orange light restrictions continue to apply.
In Oaxaca, where 13,699 coronavirus cases have been detected and 1,280 people have lost their lives to Covid-19, all nonessential businesses that remained closed for the past five months including bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen as of Monday at a reduced capacity while following strict health protocols.
Governor Alejandro Murat said the state is doing well in keeping the coronavirus outbreak under control and highlighted that no new Covid-19 deaths were reported between Saturday and Sunday. However, 10 additional Covid-19 deaths were reported in Oaxaca on Monday.
The southern state is currently in the midst of an initiative dubbed “40 days for Oaxaca” during which residents are being urged to wear face masks in all public spaces.
In Campeche, which has recorded 5,586 coronavirus cases and 755 deaths, more than 7,500 bureaucrats returned to work on Monday two weeks after the state formally switched to yellow light status and several archaeological sites reopened.
According to La Jornada, 85% of hotels in the southeastern state are now operating but bars and nightclubs remain closed. A “dry law” prohibiting alcohol sales remains in place, prompting a protest Monday by more than 100 liquor store owners.
Authorities in Guerrero, which has recorded 14,793 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,658 deaths, allowed a range of businesses including hotels, restaurants, cinemas, hair salons, gyms and sports centers to increase their capacity from 30% to 60% on Monday.
In Chiapas, where 6,267 coronavirus cases have been detected and 1,001 Covid-19 deaths have occurred, some restrictions were eased on Monday, allowing businesses to operate at a greater capacity but most government workers will not return to their workplaces until September 16.
Authorities in Tlaxcala, which has recorded 6,374 coronavirus cases and 900 deaths, also allowed businesses to operate at an increased capacity as of Monday but they announced that there will be no “cry of independence” ceremony on September 15 nor street parades the following day.
Despite some restrictions easing in Sonora, Health Minister Enrique Clausen said that the northern state’s switch to yellow light status doesn’t mean that people can relax or drop their guard.
“We must continue behaving as if we were at [the] red [light level],” he said.
Gyms are among some nonessential businesses that haven’t been allowed to reopen in Sonora despite the coronavirus risk level being reduced. The state has recorded 21,433 confirmed cases and 2,646 Covid-19 deaths.
Authorities in Tamaulipas and Veracruz, both of which have recorded more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, also eased some restrictions on Monday but the government of Tabasco decided it was too soon to make the switch to yellow and kept orange light rules in place.
Authorities in the Gulf coast state, which has 28,354 confirmed cases and 2,565 Covid-19 deaths, said it will designate Tabasco a yellow light state as of September 7, a move that will allow hundreds of businesses to reopen or increase their capacity.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 599,560 on Monday with 3,719 new cases registered. The Health Ministry estimates that just under 39,000 cases are active.
The official Covid-19 death toll increased by 256 to 64,414, the Health Ministry reported.
Mexico overtook the United Kingdom a month ago to rank third for total Covid-19 fatalities behind the United States and Brazil but its death toll was passed this week by that of India and it now ranks fourth.