The Chapala government won’t be sending out paddy wagons to round up rogue residents who balk at tougher Covid-19 prevention measures taking effect Monday, April 20 by state mandate. Local authorities will, however, flex their muscles to make people comply with the new directives on social distancing, staying at home and compulsory use of face masks in public, announced Sunday evening by Governor Enrique Alfaro.
The strict health crisis rules call for citizens to stay home unless they must go out to work or to take care of essential necessities. In those cases, individuals are required to wear masks while out in public or riding public transportation. Only a single member of the household should go out on legitimate family chores.
Seniors over age 60, pregnant and postpartum women and persons with pre-existing conditions who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 are advised to avoid leaving home for any reason.
Meanwhile, to avoid mass contagion, Chapala’s public spaces, except for markets, remain closed. Outdoor recreational activities and group gatherings of more than 10 people at a time are still prohibited here.
Chapala Síndico (chief legal officer) Isaac Trejo delved into details during an hour-long April 20 press conference with four local media reporters conducted via the Zoom platform.
He explained that municipal police and designated City Hall officials are empowered to impose fines and even detain individuals who defy the enhanced restrictions, and will do so if deemed necessary. However, local authorities are immediately focused on enforcement through raising awareness. Officers have an initial supply of 3,000 face masks to distribute to bare-faced people encountered throughout the community.
Trejo noted that actions carried out on Monday included an inspection of the Chapala plaza where the municipal market vendor stalls are temporarily housed there while Mercado building is under renovation.
Merchants and shoppers alike were given instructions on requisite sanitary precautions such as frequent hand-washing, use of sanitizing gel and proper mask use.
He stated that similar watch is being maintained at other places of business that remain open for essential services. Inspections are also continuing at entry points to Chapala, including highway accesses and the bus terminal, to limit the arrival of potential Covid-19 carriers.
Trejo indicated that due to the unique makeup of Chapala’s populace, a certain degree of tolerance may be observed for elderly citizens, including expat seniors, as long as they closely follow the rules, only go about necessary business such as shopping, banking and medical appointments, and return home promptly.
Many of these points were reiterated by Mayor Moisés Anaya in a message transmitted from his office Monday evening.
“The most difficult time is coming,” he warned. “We are at the moment in the crisis when the apex of the curve is approaching and all the sacrifices many have made so far will be in vain if we do not follow these measures now.”