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Mexico City closes museums, bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters in a bid to halt the coronavirus spread

Last week, Claudia Sheinbaum recommended that employees in the capital work from home if possible

Mexico City closes museums, bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters in a bid to halt the coronavirus spread
Mexico City recently announced the closure of the majority of businesses and public places - Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP
English 23/03/2020 16:01 Reuters Mexico City Actualizada 16:18

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The streets in the heart of Mexico City are usually crowded but now, after the COVID-19 pandemic, they have grown noticeably quiet after mayor Claudia Sheinbaum ordered the closure of bars, clubs, zoos, saunas, gyms, and movie theaters, as well as the suspension of mass events, even as President López Obrador has avoided harsher restrictions.

For example, on Sundays, Mexico City’s bike circuit draws around 50,000 participants, mostly bikers as well as runners and skaters, but only a tiny fraction showed up on March 22 after Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum ordered it closed due to the risk of spreading coronavirus.

On March 22, Sheinbaum also ordered from the closure of the city’s many museums, nightclubs, and gyms while also issuing a ban on events where 50 or more people might congregate starting on March 23.

“We don’t know how bad this virus really is so I guess it’s a responsible thing to do,”  said Mauricio Ortega, 73, who was nevertheless still riding his bike, but wearing a mask and gloves.

Recommended: How will large cities face the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico?

Last week, Sheinbaum recommended that employees in the capital work from home if possible, while the federal government ordered schools temporarily closed and promoted social distancing policies, even as critics argued that more strict measures are needed.

In recent days, streets and offices across Mexico were increasingly empty as bosses and local leaders urge people to reduce social interaction, as many containment measures have been pushed by local leaders, businesses, and ordinary people and not by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In recent weeks, restaurants throughout the city have closed and are now offering delivery services.

Unlike other countries in the region and all over the world, Mexican President López Obrador has stopped short of ordering a broad lockdown due to concerns that the country’s already slumping economy would take an even bigger hit.

To date, Mexico has reported around 316 cases of coronavirus and two deaths.

On March 23, authorities in the state of Mexico, which is part of the Metropolitan area, also announced the closure of bars, shopping centers, and movie theaters. 

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