The coronavirus risk level in Mexico City will be downgraded from “red light” maximum to “orange light” high next week, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Friday.
The switch will allow some restrictions to be eased in the capital according to a staggered schedule.
Sheinbaum said that the switch to orange was possible because hospital occupancy levels are at 59% and trending downwards.
She said 2,973 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized, an 8% decline compared to a week ago and a 15% drop compared to the peak on May 22.
The mayor stressed that if hospital occupancy levels go above 65% again, red light restrictions will be reinstated. She urged residents to continue to take precautions to reduce the risk of infection. People should continue to stay at home as much as possible and the use of face masks in public places remains mandatory, Sheinbaum said.
“Next week … we’re going to open [the economy] gradually and with strict health measures. The pandemic is ongoing. All citizens have made an effort to stop the pandemic growing [and] we need [their continued] support,” she said.
Small neighborhood stores will be permitted to reopen on Monday and domestic workers can return to work. People who employ workers such as maids in their homes must provide them with a face mask, protective shield and gloves, according to guidelines published by the government.
Sports centers will also be permitted to reopen at 30% of their regular capacity starting on Monday.
On Tuesday, shops and public spaces in Mexico City’s historic center will be permitted to reopen, while restaurants and hotels across the capital can welcome back diners and guests from Wednesday on.
Restaurants will be permitted to operate at 30% of their regular capacity if they only have an enclosed dining area and at 40% capacity if they have both indoor and outdoor space. Wait staff must wear a face mask and protective shield at all times and restaurants must not play music or issue reusable menus to diners.
Hotels and their in-house restaurants will also be permitted to operate at 30% capacity but common spaces such as events rooms and gymnasiums must remain closed.
Street markets known as tianguis will be permitted as of Thursday next week, while beauty and hair salons can reopen next Friday but must operate on an appointment-only basis and not exceed 30% of regular capacity. Their workers and customers must wear face masks and appointments are restricted to a maximum of one hour.
The following Monday, July 6, department stores and shopping centers will be allowed to reopen at 30% capacity. Their opening hours will be restricted from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
All businesses that employ 30 or more people must test at least 5% of their workforce for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, according to government rules.
During Mexico City’s “orange light” phase, a range of businesses must remain closed including cinemas, theaters, bars, night clubs, museums, casinos and gyms.
Educational institutions will also remain closed while the coronavirus risk level remains high and events that gather large numbers of people, including religious services, are prohibited.
Given that the governments of México state, Morelos, Puebla and Hidalgo agreed to share the same coronavirus risk rating as the capital because of their interconnectedness in terms of the movement of people and goods, those states are also expected to switch from red to orange on the Health Ministry’s updated “stoplight” map to be presented by the Health Ministry on Friday night.
The downgrading of the risk level in Mexico City has occurred even though the capital still has the largest active coronavirus outbreak in the country, with 3,842 cases as of Thursday, according to official data.
One of Mexico’s first two confirmed Covid-19 cases was detected in the capital in late February and the city has maintained the unwelcome title of the country’s coronavirus epicenter ever since.
As of Thursday, Mexico City has recorded more than 45,000 confirmed cases and 6,116 Covid-19 deaths.
However, the case tally likely only represents a small fraction of the real total due to limited testing while an analysis of death certificates and several media reports indicate that coronavirus-related fatalities are being drastically underreported in the capital.
Source: Milenio (sp)