Mexico’s General Health Council made the decision to include the automotive, aerospace, mining and construction sectors among the country’s essential activities and are allowed to restart operations from May 18 onward. Other industries are expected to restart activities until June 1, as Mexico slowly prepares to move on to “the new normal.”
The government deems these to be highly technical industries. They are expected to lead the re-start of productive activities, in coordination with companies from the US that are dependent on output from Mexico for their own production. This starting phase begins on May 18 and ends on the 31. “We now have the light which tells us we are going to get out of the tunnel,” President López Obrador said to a reporter during his morning press conference, noting that Mexico was still in this tunnel for the moment.
Reuters reported that the press conference presented some uncertainty, as it did not become clear whether automotive plants would re-open their doors next week or by the beginning of June. The Ministry of Economy did not give an explanation and questions were cut short, which is unusual for the President, who often takes ample time to answer questions.
Minister of Economy, Graciela Marquez, explained that the rest of the industry and social activity would restart via a ‘traffic light’ system. The system is used to determine which parts of the country are at lower risks to start activities once again. Mexico uses highly mechanized factories and therefore the government sees lower risks. Aerospace, rail and shipbuilding plants can open their doors as well, as the decision applies to all companies manufacturing transportation parts and equipment.
The decision is not without risks, pointed out Benjamin Carrera to Reuters. Carrera is a MORENA lawmaker from Chihuahua, who stressed that while the economy is of great importance, it is never more important than human lives. For the government, making this balancing act is difficult. CONCAMIN, however, welcomes the government’s proposal. While companies are allowed to go back to work, they do have to take all health and safety precautions into account.