Stores inside Juarez malls allowed to reopen; maquiladoras given more leeway

Coronavirus

Mexican officials try to reconcile need to protect residents from COVID-19, urgency to avoid permanent business closures

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — El Paso has reached 300 coronavirus-related fatalities, with seven new deaths reported on Monday. All of the newly deceased were over 60 years old.

The city also confirmed 86 new cases to bring the overall tally to 16,396.

Across the border, Juarez, Mexico on Monday reported one new fatality to bring its death toll to 699 and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 4,936. The consensus in the El Paso-Juarez medical community is that Juarez’s coronavirus infections are probably much higher due to limited testing there.

On Sunday, the governor of Chihuahua effected new restrictions to curb the increased movement of people in his state but also allowed maquiladoras to increase operations and some previously closed businesses to reopen.

The new regulations are aimed to balance the need to protect residents against the spread of COVID-19 while preventing permanent business closures.

Bar owners and employees have held several protests, including one on Monday afternoon, demanding these businesses be allowed to reopen.

“The industry is losing millions. It’s not just the economic losses, but also jobs being lost and families being affected. Many businesses will (go broke),” said a leader of the protest at the state government building in Juarez.

Restaurants will continue to operate at 50% capacity but must now close at 10:30 p.m. and private gatherings — including in people’s homes — are restricted to 10 persons and must disband by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

U.S.-run plants that manufacture parts for automobiles and the aerospace industry may now operate at 60% capacity compared to the previous 50% limit, state officials said.

Convenience stores may operate at 30% capacity, or in the case of the smaller stores, with no more than 10 customers inside at a time.

Specialty stores inside shopping centers were allowed to reopen Monday at 25% capacity and beauty salons and spas may operate at 50% capacity but must close at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends, state officials said.

Luis Fernando Mesta Soulé

Street vendors, some of whom never stopped plying their wares during the pandemic, are being told to clear the streets by 5 p.m. on weekdays, 6 p.m. on weekends. Parks can be used through 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bars and churches remain closed, but priests may meet with parishioners through appointments, said Chihuahua state Secretary of Government Luis Fernando Mesta Soulé. The same official this Monday tested positive for COVID-19 and placed himself under quarantine.

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