Message From Tommy Thompson from Barbara's Bazaar
As a local businessman, father, grandfather and husband I am extremely concerned that 'we' in our little village are not doing enough to maintain the social distancing needed to head off a crisis the likes of which already hit Italy, Spain and now the USA. Why anyone would assume that little Chapala will be exempt from the travesty of Covid-19 I don't know but it seems there are a lot of business people who aren't too worried.
All the countries with the most tragic results of Covid-19 have one thing in common, they waited too long to apply strict social distancing regulations. There are semi-success stories developing in some parts of the world (even the USA) where social distancing was applied earlier and curtailed social spread.
Since we in Jalisco have not had any testing to speak of, we certainly do not know how many asymptomatic cases we have here.
4 days ago the Governor gave a positive report of how the first 5 day 'stay home' effort showed signs of being effective.. He stated that it was applied by approx. 40% of the states residents. He showed how, if it was 80% applied the 'peak' of social spreading could be slowed drastically.
Two nights ago the Federal Sec'y of Health asked that the entire country apply an extreme social distancing policy for one month. He ordered that all "non essential" businesses be closed. All beauty shops, bars, gyms, etc. only essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, etc. (and for some reason he thinks restaurants are able to accommodate people safely). Last night the Chapala mayor also asked everyone to stay home and for non essential businesses to stay closed.
Three days ago on a morning dog walk I witnessed 6 foreigners all gathered around a table in the plaza at one of the outdoor cafes .. really I thought? Those waiters just got exposed to 6 strangers and the diners also to the families of each waiter .. they grab your coffee cup, serve you then you grab the same cup or plate .. doesn't it hit anyone how easy transmission will be if it is found locally?
Yesterday, I ventured out for my weekly grocery shopping, I wanted fish, so I went to San Antonio.
What I witnesses there scared the bejesus out of me..
A waiter from the popular restaurant (yes they were open!) in that strip walked out of the restaurant with a $500 peso bill in his hand, he went next door to the meat market, used his bare hand to open the door.. (one through which had passed many many people that day) he came out a minute later, using his bare hands again, now with the change in it and promptly went back to the restaurant to give the clients their change ..
Not one thought was given by this young man to how much contamination he could be exposing himself to and thus the restaurant clients. At the supermarket the young girl fingered her phone between handling my fruit and veggies.. only the bag boy looked like he knew where he was and what he was doing, gloves and a mask!
In that little complex of shops there is another little eatery alongside the fish market, they had a group of 5 bicyclists from GDL, all sweaty and eating taquitos (finger food by nature) .. imagine what they could have left behind for the next guest or for the employees .. no sanitizer in sight..
In discussing this with my daughter she exhorts that many of these small businesses cannot remain closed.. I tell her, they risk losing a month's income or years of economic ruin, if we in Mexico lose the same percentage of victims to the virus as is expected in the USA. A little pain now, or a big price to pay down the road. It is hard to convince her otherwise and I am sure she speaks for a lot of Mexicans.
I am writing you to ask that each one of you do everything you can individually to respect the "stay home" policy and that you NOT support any business that is violating the public calls to observe this stay home plan for the month of April.. it is being done for our common good.
Also, when the time comes to help some of these businessmen's families, I hope you will all pitch in with donations to food banks that are being formed as I write this. When I am aware of a functioning one in our area, or individual cases I will use this medium to inform you.
First things first .. an 80% compliance could head off a disaster. It is obvious that restaurants who think they are being careful have no idea what that entails.. no reason for Real Estate, Sex Shops, gift shops, hardware stores nor beauty shops to remain open .. sorry but those are not essential.
We, as the adults in the room, have got to show how to survive this pandemic..stay home. When you need to go out, act like you have the virus..
We all love this little town .. PLEASE do all you can to encourage your favorite restaurant and bar to just take a break .. stay home.. It should be apparent to everyone that there is no medical infrastructure here to overload .. we're all off to GDL if we need a respirator ,, good luck there, eh?
An ounce of prevention.. as they told us when we were young ..
Share this, delete it, whatever you feel appropriate, I would never forgive myself if I kept what I saw in the last 3 days to myself as cases start spreading and people we know die .. hopefully, I am wrong and this worldwide pandemic will just skip Ajijic, I hope so..
This translates in English to "Your Safe Distance", cute..but its not just a carton, it's a reality during the Covid-19 pandemia.. PLEASE WEAR A MASK IN ALL PUBLIC PLACES AND MAKE SURE IT COVERS YOUR FACE AND MOUTH!!