Life After Lockdown: Mexico Prepares to Go Back to NormalBy Alessa Flores | Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:35
Today, Graciela Márquez, Minister of Economy, announced during the president’s morning press conference the return to the "new normality," which will consist of three phases. Following the National Social-Distancing Program, it is expected that people will return to their daily lives but with the support of some sanitary measures.
The first stage will begin on May 18 with the reopening of 269 municipalities belonging to 15 states where no cases of COVID-19 were registered and that are not adjacent to infected municipalities. The second stage will be from May 18 to 31, when construction, mining and transportation equipment manufacturing industries, now considered essential activities, will restart. Likewise, stage two will serve as a pilot program for the general reopening of business, when companies will have to implement sanitary protocols for their safe return to activities. They must train people to maintain a safe work environment, readjust spaces and production processes, as well as implement sanitation and hygiene processes for employees. Finally, the third stage starts on June 1, when social, educational and economic activities will go back to “normal” based on a risk traffic light method.
The risk traffic light is a tool normally used in the financial sector to measure the investment risk that certain financial products entail for investors, according to the University of Valencia in Spain. This methodology is also used in Mexico to regulate the road traffic program known as "Hoy No Circula.” Thus, the reactivation plan will use the same logic and the color scale will indicate the protocols to be considered by certain regions and whether they can return to their daily activities or not. Municipalities in red are still at a maximum sanitary risk scale, orange will represent high risk, yellow will be used for intermediate-risk and green for low risk.
This staggered approach to reactivating activities is not unique to Mexico. Other countries such as Canada are applying similar processes, where essential activities reopened on April 27 and others have resumed operations gradually since then. The retail sector reopened on May 4, except in Montreal, while mining, manufacturing, construction activities, goods and service providers in essential sectors, real estate brokers, land surveyors, inspectors and building appraisers and chartered appraisers went back to business on May 11. At the moment, the country is analyzing the possibility of reopening childcare services and schools.
Some mention that life will not return to normality as we knew it before COVID-19. Drastic changes will be needed in the way we carry out our daily life and how we establish relationships, according to experts from Euronews. One of the main concerns is that quarantine measures have increased stress and anxiety in people, so returning to daily life may be more difficult for some than for others, clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Murphy told Euronews. Employers and employees must be ready to return to work following sanitary protocols, while companies must make psychological support available for those who need it.