Mexico City restaurants defy COVID-19 shutdown

Mexico City | Tue, January 12, 2021 | 11:12 am

Hundreds of restaurants in Mexico’s capital re-opened Monday in violation of a city moratorium on non-essential practices intended to counter an increase in coronavirus cases. Restaurateurs in Mexico City warned that they were faced with a strong choice-a breach of the suspension order or the danger of going out of service. “We’re so desperate that we’re opening, because if not – the option they gave us is death,” said Giulliano Lopresti, owner of the Quebracho restaurant in the Cuauhtemoc neighborhood.

He said that the move was not “an act of rebellion” but a call for support. In total, more than 500 restaurants were believed to have opposed the closure order. Quebracho has reopened with about a quarter of its seats available to allow social distances, along with the normal sanitary steps, such as temperature tests for consumers and face masks and shields for workers. Other restaurants on the same street have also agreed to welcome dinners.

For several of them, the home delivery service they are permitted to perform is not enough to cover their expenses. At the Italian restaurant Attenti, the manager of Velino de la Cruz said that the company was 10% of its former size, with seats still accessible on the terrace, but that the re-opening had nonetheless given rise to morale. Mexico’s official COVID-19 death toll, the fourth highest in the world, now stands at about 134,000, with more than 1.5 million cases reported.

On Friday, the authorities scrapped plans to resume non-essential operations in the capital, prolonging the ban that took effect on 18 December. Hospitals in the region are unable to deal with the surge of patients on Christmas and New Year’s holidays, when families normally assemble.

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