Stricter coronavirus restrictions designed to avoid a spike in case numbers as the Christmas holiday season approaches take effect Monday in Guerrero.
Announcing 12 new measures to slow the spread of the virus, Governor Héctor Astudillo said that if there is a large new outbreak, the state won’t be able to receive tourists over the Christmas/New Year period.
That would be a big blow for the economy in Guerrero, whose Pacific coast beaches in destinations such as Acapulco and Zihuatanejo are popular with tourists during the end of year holiday season.
The new measures are:
- The use of face masks is mandatory in open-air and enclosed public spaces.
- Shopping centers, supermarkets and nonessential stores must close between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
- The sale of alcohol at convenience stores is banned after 8:00 p.m.
- Pharmacies, hospitals, health centers, gas stations and funeral homes may operate 24 hours.
- Citizens are prohibited from using their cars between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
- Bars in open-air spaces and on rooftops must close by 11:00 p.m.
- Bars in enclosed spaces, nightclubs/discos and casinos are not allowed to operate at all.
- Open bar events are prohibited.
- Restaurants must close between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
- Movie theaters must close by 11:00 p.m.
- Gyms must remain closed.
- Events such as weddings and 15th birthday parties are only permitted in open air spaces and must conclude by 11:00 p.m.
The restrictions will remain in effect for at least two weeks.
Astudillo said that a survey of residents in municipalities with high numbers of coronavirus cases found that more than seven in 10 people are in favor of stricter restrictions being implemented.
Non-compliance with the face mask measure will not immediately be punishable but Guerrero authorities are analyzing the possibility of establishing sanctions such as fines for people not wearing masks in public spaces. They are also considering the possibility of closing beaches.
To encourage compliance with health measures among visitors, officials with the state Tourism Ministry are carrying out an awareness campaign at bus stations and hotels. They are also distributing face masks and antibacterial gel to tourists in popular destinations including Acapulco.
At Playa Icacos, a popular beach in the resort city, members of the National Guard along with tourist police and municipal officials have been urging tourists to wear face masks and refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages, the newspaper Milenio reported.
According to federal data, Guerrero has recorded 22,598 confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the 15th highest tally among Mexico’s 32 states. The federal Health Ministry estimates that there are currently 370 active cases in the southern state.
Guerrero’s official Covid-19 death toll is 2,219, the 15th highest total in the country.
Currently classified as “high” risk orange on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight system, Guerrero is one of several states that have recently announced tighter restrictions to control the spread of the virus.
Mexico’s national coronavirus case tally increased to 967,825 on Sunday with 5,887 new cases reported, while the official Covid-19 death toll rose to 95,027 with 219 additional fatalities registered.
Health Ministry Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía said that Chihuahua, Durango, Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Coahuila, Querétaro and Zacatecas are all seeing a spike in new case numbers.
Mexico City, which easily leads the country for accumulated cases and Covid-19 deaths, currently has the largest active outbreak among the 32 states with an estimated 12,165 active cases.
On a per capita basis, Durango – one of two states currently painted red on the federal stoplight map – has the worst outbreak with 111.5 active cases per 100,000 residents.