Merida, Yucatan, April 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is the era of the coronavirus and we have survived March and arrived at April 2020 – finally – but the end is nowhere in sight. It’s my personal feeling that we here in Mexico are just getting started.

While the USA struggles to keep up with the ever-increasing number of people infected with the virus, and Italy and Spain still lead in number of deaths, Mexico is – thankfully – way down the list today of affected countries. This is temporary I suspect, and we will see an uptick shortly as the cases reported grow exponentially.

The reaction here has been mostly denial, at least at the federal level, for most of March. It seems that finally the message is sinking in, however, and the social distancing and washing your hands campaign is starting to take hold. At the state level, governor Mauricio Vila has earned praise for his pro-active reactions and actions, and all the bitching and moaning about the license plate renewal fee (another subject, for another day and now on hold) has quieted down. The state of Yucatan is way ahead of the federal government (think AMLO and his magical amulets) in accepting this new reality.

Traffic in the city of Merida and on the highways is light, very light and it would be a pleasure to drive anywhere if it wasn’t because of a world-wide pandemic. And if you had somewhere to go. Most stores are officially closed as of yesterday April 1st, with the exception of anything medical, food and fuel related. Restaurants are to-go only and Uber, Rappi and others are making money delivering food to shut-ins. Pedestrians too, are fewer than ever and the city’s various neighborhoods present quite an eerie sight.

There have been concerns on television and other media that the companies are not providing adequate protection (PPE) to their drivers and it does seem a bit risky to be in such close and constant contact with all kinds of people all over the city of Merida. On Mexican TV, you hear of nurses, doctors and support staff already worried about shortages of personal protection equipment in the public hospitals and we are just getting started. Not a promising start.

I am crossing my fingers (what else can I do) that our stomachs and immune systems here are less sensitive than those of our neighbors to the north, and that the stifling heat of April and May will make that virus think twice about setting up shop here.

Stay tuned. And stay home. Stay healthy.

3 thoughts on “Merida, Yucatan, April 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. You take care as well! You need to find other things to write about – I do enjoy your articles.

  2. Thank you!! I am trying to find new things to write about, or old things in a new light. Or something.

    Thanks for stopping by and being encouraging.

  3. Hi William… just over a year on and the pandemic indeed continues, of course, but with enough of a retreat that we — a family of Americans who are expats ourselves (in the EU) — find ourselves in an AirBnB in, yes, Merida… as I write.

    We have, in fact, just booked a trip tomorrow with YOUR excursions service to take us to Uxmal and back. We’re really looking forward to it. In the meantime, we’ve been looking over your blog. And it has me wondering, in this post-pandemic era, do you have a favorite restaurant you’d recommend that’s accessible to someone staying in town but with no car?

    We’re about a 15 minute walk from the Plaza Grande. We live in Paris part of the year so are into good food. At the same time, fun bistro is better than hushed gourmet. Hope you don’t mind us hitting you up for a current rec like this, but our host — also from Vancouver — hasn’t been here for a long time due to the pandemic and her property assistant told us that unfortunately some of the restos she recommended in her welcome booklet are now closed.

    Grateful for anything you can recommend!

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