COVID-19: 500 restaurants in Mexico City defy opening ban

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More than 500 restaurants reopened in Mexico City on Monday, disobeying authorities in the Mexican capital who had ordered their activities to be suspended, due to the increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

“We open; not as an act of rebellion, but for them to see that we have reached a borderline situation […] and to say [aux autorités] please, let’s find an agreement, ”Giulliano Lopresti, owner of the Quebracho restaurant in the central Cuauhtémoc district, told AFP.

On December 18, authorities in the capital – a city of nine million inhabitants – declared a state of maximum health alert and decided to suspend non-essential activities. On January 8, these measures were extended because of the increase in the number of hospitalizations due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus.

Mr. Lopresti’s establishment has opened its doors with 48 seats, instead of the 200 it can count. “We are so desperate that we are opening up, otherwise the only option they have left us is death,” Lopresti added, at the risk of being punished.

At the entrance, as was the case before, an employee took the temperature of visitors on Monday and had them rub their hands with hydroalcoholic gel, while the waiters were systematically masked.

On the same street, other restaurants have made the same decision. Their owners argue that they don’t just cover their costs with home delivery. “We are working at 10% of what we used to do,” assured Velino de la Cruz, manager of the Italian restaurant Attenti, which only offers terrace service.

The secretary of the government of the capital, Alfonso Suarez del Real, said authorities would apply sanctions after these restaurant reopens.

The official told Radio Formula that he understood the “pressure” of restaurateurs, but also that “of these families, whose relatives are in hospitals in the metropolitan area of ​​Valle de Mexico, just over 6,000 people. “.

Mexico – with a population of 129 million – recorded more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 contamination and at least 134,368 deaths on Monday, according to official figures.

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