No health alert declaration to close Peñasco beaches

City following protocol to address COVID-19

By José Antonio Pérez & Shandra Keesecker-Rivero

18-marzo-kiko-covid19-1200x800 No health alert declaration to close Peñasco beaches

Neither the State Government nor the Federal Government have issued a health emergency declaration to proceed with the closure of public beaches in Sonora, though Puerto Peñasco is complying with all protocol concerning the present coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, affirmed Puerto Peñasco mayor Kiko Munro on Wednesday during a video press conference aired over the City’s Facebook site Gobierno de Puerto Peñasco.

Given speculation on possible beach closures, the mayor emphasized they are closely following Federal and State protocols. In the strictest sense, a health emergency declaration would mean closure of area beaches. In such a case, the mayor would request additional support from the State for implementation. In the particular case of Puerto Peñasco, we must assume there will be tens of thousands visiting over the upcoming weeks (Semana Santa “Holy Week”), to which the mayor urged visitors to avoid being in groups of more than 10 while following steps outlined by the State Secretary of Health.

18marzo-kiko-covid-19-1200x800 No health alert declaration to close Peñasco beaches

Joined by Héctor Vázquez del Mercado, President of the Puerto Peñasco Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as Ángel de la Puerta, Peñasco Chamber of Commerce President, and Dr. Óscar Castro of the Municipal Health Office, the mayor detailed steps are being taken to address the 1st phase of the health problem. This is in line with the State’s #QuédateEnCasa (Stay at Home) campaign.  He added to date there have been no coronavirus cases detected in Puerto Peñasco.

Additional key points made during the mayor’s briefing included:

  • Joint agreement to protect people’s health while seeking the least economic impact on the municipality, as well as protection of employees.
  • Upholding Federal and State prevention strategies toward COVID-19, as well as those of the World Health Organization
  • Prevent panic buying while still ensuring preparedness. Phase 1 is a preventative, not reactionary step
  • Encourage the community to stay in their homes #QuedateEnCasa while urging visitors to avoid spaces with groups of 10 or more people
  • Tourism sector – prepared to attend to visitors upon their arrival, take temperatures, remain alert to symptoms, and isolate individuals if necessary.
  • A questionnaire for visitors is meant to help detect people that may be within vulnerable groups. Possibility for someone in a vulnerable category to be asked to return to their point of origin and not stay, due to the risk of being exposed to or contracting the virus.
  • Suspension of city permits for social, sports, civic, and cultural events
  • No authorized permits for bars that typically line Calle 13 and the Malecon, particularly during Semana Santa, and no permits for music “bandas” that traditionally fill the Malecon
  • Remain alert to health warning declarations concerning any future beach closures
  • As handwashing is a fundamental part to containing the spread of the coronavirus (and germs in general), the mayor has ordered the Water Department (OOMAPAS) to suspend any scheduled cut-offs to those with outstanding payments.
  • City Council meetings will be held virtually rather than in person

The mayor reiterated the call for the community to heed the recommendations of the Secretary of Health – and particularly that residents stay at home if they do not have an essential activity to be done outside their residence.

These steps, he insisted, are being taken in consideration of and in following indications of the Intersectoral Health Board of the State Government.

He committed to continued communication and coordinated work to make sure the community remains informed.

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**NOTE– Mexican health authorities request if anyone believes they have suspicious symptoms, DO NOT GO TO HOSPITALS OR EMERGENCY ROOMS. Isolate yourself at home and call  800 004 4800, of the Epidemiology Intelligence Unit (UIES) so they can go to you and take a sample.

#QuédateEnCasa campaign calls for:

  • Cancellation of classes at all academic levels
    – Closure of clubs (i.e. night clubs/bars), movie theaters, casinos, and gyms
    – No events or meetings of more than 10 people
    – Recommendation to not visit the beach
    – Recommendation to not go to mass
    – Recommendation to request food home delivery (take-out) rather than going out to restaurants

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