Due to the increase in cases of coronavirus in Baja California Sur, four of the state’s five municipalities have closed beaches to prevent further infections, the government announced Thursday. The only beaches open in the state are those in Los Cabos, where access is limited to 30% of capacity and hours are also restricted.
The beaches were reopened in mid-June, but due to overcrowding and a spike in coronavirus cases, La Paz, Comondú and Mulegé will no longer allow beach access, said the state’s deputy minister of Civil Protection, Carlos Alfredo Godínez León. In Loreto, the beaches have remained closed since the pandemic lockdown began.
In Los Cabos, where popular resort towns San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are once again welcoming international tourism, Mayor Armida Castro Guzmán said that 11 beaches in the area would be monitored by police to ensure coronavirus protocols and restrictions are followed, this despite widespread reports of overcrowding on the weekends.
“The basic guidelines of healthy distance have not been respected and, consequently, there is a need to patrol the beaches to invite citizens to respect the instructions of the staff of Zofemat [the Federal Terrestrial Maritime Zone authority],” Castro said.
In La Paz, where last week authorities removed 14 tonnes of garbage from beaches after they were visited by more than 10,000 people, the government is also restricting access to the city’s popular boardwalk area, where only motorized vehicles and bicycles are permitted to transit.
Stores and public transportation will also be monitored for overcrowding.
“We’re taking these steps again, and we will not let our guard down,” La Paz Mayor Ruben Muñoz Alvarez said. “Health is the most important thing.”
Last week Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis said that so far in June, confirmed coronavirus cases have risen 181%, and deaths have increased by 86% and warned that the state could go back under lockdown if the numbers continue to climb.
As of Thursday, Baja California Sur had seen 1,631 coronavirus cases and 79 deaths. The state was downgraded to the orange level, or high risk, on the federal government’s coronavirus “stoplight” map and partially reopened on June 15.