Governors of two Mexican states announced that effective Monday there will be zero tolerance for those who violate coronavirus social distancing and isolation guidelines. The use of masks in public is also now mandatory.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez issued a stern warning to the 8.25 million residents of the western Mexican state: stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks. Those who refuse will face consequences, including fines. “Everyone’s lives are at stake,” he said.
The governor of neighboring Michoacán issued a similar warning. Failure to comply in that state could not only incur fines but also mandatory community service cleaning hospitals and health clinics, Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo said.
Michoacán’s population is close to 5 million.
This puts some 13 million Mexicans on a strict lockdown which both governors promise local and state authorities will vigorously enforce.
In Jalisco, where 198 people have contracted coronavirus and 13 have died, screening measures will also be taken on roads and highways leading into the state, especially for those arriving from Mexico City, which has a level of contagion 11 times that of Jalisco.
Anyone who leaves their homes must be doing so for an essential reason, and those at high risk, such as older people, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or respiratory illnesses, may not leave their homes at all.
“The government is doing everything within our power, and the results show that what we are doing is right,” Alfaro said in a 10-minute video address posted to social media. “But our efforts are all for nothing if people don’t do their part.”
Aureoles also released a video statement with a similar sentiment.
Now is the time to strengthen coronavirus measures, not relax them, the Michoacán governor said. The state currently has 124 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.
A visibly frustrated Aureoles announced the new enforcement after touring certain areas of the state over the weekend where people were still congregating in large groups.
“Once people start to die, who are they going to blame? Well, the government because they didn’t enforce strict rules,” Aureoles said, explaining his decision to make the lockdown obligatory and without exception, with serious consequences for those in violation, even if they are “the richest person in town.”