Restaurants Reopening Despite Red LightBy Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 01/11/2021 - 14:39
Last week, approximately 550 restaurants in the Mexico Valley of Mexico stated they needed to reopen or they will face permanent closure. On Dec. 18, Mexico City, along with other municipalities in the region, returned to red in the country’s traffic light system. Since then, restaurant establishments have only been able to serve clients through take-away and delivery orders.
Among the groups that have expressed their desperation were Grupo Potzolcalli, Grupo Los Arcos y El Fogoncito. Restauranteurs claimed to have scientific studies that demonstrate their establishments are not a source of contagion, Milenio writes. The restaurants pointed out that by the end of 2020, around 450,000 employees had already been let go in the sector. With the new restrictions, the groups warned, the number of personnel laid off would rise by 10 percent. While the government of Mexico City did set up a financial relief scheme that included a one-time payment of MX$2,200 (US$109.55) for formal and informal restaurant employees, restaurant owners stated that the best way to guarantee their staff well-being is to open again for on-site dining.
On social media, the hashtag #AbrimosoMorimos (We Open or Die) trended over the weekend. Today, Sonora Grill Group announced on Twitter that its restaurants are open to diners while taking the necessary precautions. Another restaurant chain, Grupo Fisher’s, made a similar announcement yesterday. A group that claims to represent restaurants in the Mexico Valley, Restauranteros DelValledeMexico, is calling on governor of Mexico City to label the restaurant sector as an essential activity. "We are not sources of contagion but of employment, so we ask that they allow us to work," said Mireya Garcia, spokesperson of the group that claims to represent more than 100,000 restaurants in the Mexico City metropolitan area, according to Milenio.
The Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum delivered a clear message this past weekend: restaurants that do not follow the rules set for red light will be sanctioned. She stated that agents from the Administrative Verification Institute (INVEA) will be carrying out inspections. She has also indicated that today, at 6 p.m., there will be another government meeting to review how to proceed. She has also accused certain groups of politicizing the issue of reopening businesses, which she refuses to give in to. "We are not going to fall for it. The government has to guide health measures, regulations and, where appropriate, the corresponding sanction that must be imposed in case of breach,” she said.