Friday, December 8, 2023

Oaxaca mayor warns anyone not wearing face mask will be jailed

Jail time awaits people who refuse to wear masks in the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec, Oaxaca, the mayor has warned. 

“More than about law, it is about justice, because it is not fair that we continue to spread the virus if the authorities do not do something forceful, something that really shakes up the citizens,” Mayor Fredy Gil Pineda Gopar said. 

The measure, which went into effect Friday and will remain in place for 30 days, replicates the actions of other coastal Oaxaca municipalities, such as San Pedro Pochutla and Santos Reyes Nopala.

“We are working hard so that as of this Friday no one goes without a mask on the street.” The penalty for not wearing a mask will be six hours of jail time or three hours of community service. Up to 50 people can be jailed at any one time, with a maximum of 10 people per cell. Jail cells will be regularly cleaned and sanitized, the mayor said. 

Pineda says he is aware of the political cost he may face. “I am willing to assume it because we have to keep order. Someone has to face this pandemic with a strong and firm hand, and we want to be pioneers in the fight against the pandemic.”

Tourism should not be affected in the municipality, which includes part of the resort town of Puerto Escondido, and the mayor says he has not considered closing beaches, restaurants or bars. 

That is not the case in the neighboring municipality of Santa María Colotepec, which also includes parts of Puerto Escondido. Last week, the municipal government announced 13 new coronavirus mitigation measures that will remain in place for the rest of the month due to “a large scale outbreak of positive Covid-19 cases in our municipal jurisdiction.”

Beaches and bars have been closed, the sale of alcohol banned, and restaurants and hotels can only operate at 20% of capacity, among other preventative measures.

That move triggered a flare-up in a decades-old spat between the two municipalities. Authorities in San Pedro say Santa María is in violation of a court ruling by suspending activities in the area that includes the town’s famous surfing beach, Zicatela.

Source: Diario Marca (sp)

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