The federal Secretary of Health announced that Baja California would change its pandemic alert status from red to orange beginning tomorrow, affecting restaurants, bars and churches in the state.

BAJA CALIFORNIA -The Secretaría de Salud in Mexico City announced that beginning tomorrow – Monday, September 28 – the pandemic alert level for the northern half of the Baja peninsula would be changed from “red” to “orange with the change affecting hotels, restaurants, bars and churches, allowing them to increase their occupancy density from 30% to 50%.

Many business owners are welcoming the change, hard hit by the pandemic this year in a region where tourism plays such a large and important role in the local economies.

Not everyone however, is on board with the change in alert status.

In bars there is a high risk of contagion, according to the Baja California Health Secretariat. Photo: Gabriela Pérez Montiel / Cuartoscuro

Bonilla calls the easing of COVID19 restrictions “irresponsible”

Jaime Bonilla Valdez, governor of Baja California, assured that it is irresponsible to authorize the reopening of bars, with the threat still active from the coronavirus health crisis (COVID-19).

A group representing bars and restaurant workers in Tijuana had been demonstrating recently for the government to ease the restrictions, claiming that they were facing some extreme financial hardships while insisting that with the proper measures, their establishments could reopen safely.

When faced with the group’s demands, the Governor commented recently that “the return of these activities will be in due course, gradually and in specific places, in which compliance with the sanitary protocols authorized by the Ministry of Health can be guaranteed.”

Alonso Pérez Rico, Secretary of Health for Baja California, reminded them that Baja California has been on “maximum alert” with actions in the “red” color of the health traffic light.

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Some activities – such as sportfishing – have been authorized in recent weeks in a safe, planned, orderly and cautious manner with health and safety protocols, the official said.

Jaime Bonilla Valdez and Alonso Pérez Rico agreed that in certain public settings such as bars it is impossible to maintain a healthy distance, since the noise of the music and the environment itself often limits social distancing and that would likely lead to increased transmission rates.

The authorities continue to emphasize the importance of continuing with the safety protocols such as covering your nose and mouth when sneezing, frequent hand washing, use of face masks, social distancing in public, isolating yourself in the case of a fever or any flu like symptoms and – above all – protect the elderly from exposure to the coronavirus.

“Baja California has a long (epidemiological) curve and we would like it to be shortened. The pandemic is not yet over and we are entering a new normal,” commented the head of the state COVID-19 response team.

BCS – Remains in an “orange’ alert status

The Baja California Sur State Committee for Health Safety decided to remain at level 4 – orange – of the pandemic health alert until at least next week, citing data indicating that the measures taken so far is encouraging, but still not decisive enough to warrant a change from level 4.

“The fight against the pandemic generated by COVID-19 simply does not allow us any room for error, it is important to continue working together, social distancing and following all the protocols to help avoid the spread of this virus,” commented the governor, Carlos Mendoza Davis.

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