'Hoy No Circula' Program Expands Beyond Mexico City
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'Hoy No Circula' Program Expands Beyond Mexico City

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Alejandro Enríquez By Alejandro Enríquez | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 05/08/2020 - 15:52

Mobility has been reduced throughout Mexico to prevent COVID-19 contagion. However, it has not been enough, according to state authorities who will use 'Hoy No Circula' as a mechanism to further reduce the flow of people in cities. Restrictions will apply in Hidalgo, Mexico City, Puebla, State of Mexico, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas and the city of Acapulco, in Guerrero. 

'Hoy No Circula' is a program implemented originally in Mexico City and the State of Mexico that applies selective restriction measures to private vehicles to decrease air pollution levels in the metropolitan area. Depending on the plate number, vehicles cannot hit the roads on a certain weekday. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, state governments expect that mobility will be further reduced to prevent contagion. "We see with great concern that mobility in Puebla has not diminished according to the projections made by the platforms tracking mobility," tweeted Puebla's Governor Miguel Barbosa yesterday.

Hidalgo, neighboring to State of Mexico, was the first one to enforce mobility restrictions on May 2. State authorities will restrict the roads to half of the vehicle park every day, including vehicles from other states. Even plate numbers will circulate one day and odd numbers the day after. Restrictions also allow only two people per vehicle. Failing to comply will get the driver a fine.  

Zacatecas, a state in northwestern Mexico, will enforce similar restrictions, with just a third of the vehicle park circulating on a daily basis. Starting May 10, drivers that do not follow these restrictions will have to park their vehicles for 48 hours. Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico, already restricts circulation to just one fifth of its vehicle park during weekdays in 10 municipalities with no major sanctions, though. Acapulco, a beach destination in southern Mexico, followed a similar policy of just restricting vehicles on weekdays without major sanctions. 

Puebla is home to Mexico's fourth largest populated metropolitan area with around 3 million people. According to Governor Barbosa, contagion in the state have increased sharply. "We are reaching peaks of contagion between 40 and 50 daily new cases. We are not flattening the curve; here is a curve that is increasing and it has to do with not the best of social behaviors," said the governor on a virtual press conference. Program details will be revealed shortly by the state's minister of mobility.

Mobility restrictions aim to reduce mobility by at least 30 percent as the country reaches the peak of contagion, according to federal authorities. Tech companies have released data to compare mobility reductions around the world to levels seen in mid-January. Even though not 100 percent accurate, data portrays a picture about social behavior during the COVID-19 lockdowns, while helping public officials to take action to prevent contagion.

Photo by:   Wikimedia Commons

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