With more work to be done—i.e., protocols—the city council has approved the Safety Measures for the Economic Reopening of San Miguel de Allende. There will be measures to record those who enter the city and determine why they’ve come here. The reopening will take place in four phases, beginning on June 1.
Although at the national level June 1 is when the lockdown will end, there is still no exact date for the opening of San Miguel. Each state and each city will decide individually when it reopens. The opening is based on a figurative stoplight, the Semáforo Covid—the COVID-19 Traffic Light.
The reopening of San Miguel
The new protocols were approved in the first session of a virtual city hall meeting. At the actual City Hall the only ones present were the mayor, Luis Alberto Villarreal; City Attorney Verónica Agundis; the Secretary of Government, Gonzalo González; and the technical team. The ten aldermen remained at home and connected to the meeting virtually.
The protocols to fully reactivate San Miguel’s economy will be developed with the cooperation of all industries, state facilities, and the federal government.
“The opening will be gradual, orderly, cautious, and responsible so as not to put the residents at risk, such that each phase will be measured and continuously evaluated,” said the mayor. He added that all establishments will have to have “a safety and health certificate” that will be provided by a committee composed of representatives of the Jurisdicción Sanitaria (Sanitation Services), Protección Civil (Civil Protection), Consejo Turístico (Tourism Council) and the directors of Desarrollo Económico, Relaciones Internacionales y ONG’s (Economic Development, International Relations and NGOs).
The following businesses will open during “Phase Zero”: markets and centers of commerce; restaurants; bars; loncherías; taquerías; tortillerías; bakeries; coffee shops; sweets shops; ice sellers; ice cream shops; groceries and miscellaneous; nutrition centers; pharmacies; medical offices; laboratories; medical supply stores; cleaning supplies; artisanal shops; hardware stores; construction material stores; beauty and barber shops; stationery shops; snack shops; haberdashery, clothing, and shoe stores; gift shops; toy stores; flower shops; watch stores; locksmiths; gas stations; car mechanics; iron works; carpenters; furniture stores; jewelry shops; commercial plazas; cyber cafes; telephone shops; self service centers; and public parking.
Protocols for this phase were approved on May 26. Male employees with long hair, a mustache or a beard must cut it and shave it. Employees should not wear any kind of jewelry.
Restaurants must work at a 50 percent capacity, and clients must take a 2-meter-distance; employees must wear gloves and face masks. Client will be encouraged to make a reservation in advance, lines are forbidden.
The city government is also recommending to restaurants to offer digital, or disposable menus; if they are physical, they must be cleaned constantly. Table coats are not allowed on tables; and clutter ought to be placed over a napkin before the meal is served. Restaurants will be opened until 10pm.
All Sanmiguelenses and visitors must wear face masks in public spaces, or private spaces open to the public. The staff of restaurants and all businesses opening in phase zero, are allowed to deny the entry to any person not wearing face mask.
Public markets, and street food stands, are forced to sell food just to go.
These establishments will be able to open during “Phase One”: hotels; public parks; movie houses; theaters; libraries; cultural centers; churches and houses of worship; meeting centers (meetings limited to ten people).
In “Phase Two,” the following will open: sports centers, such as gyms; public courts (basketball, etc.) within the city and outlying communities.
In “Phase Three” the green light will be given to: canteens: bars; night clubs; snack shops; rodeos; dance halls; private and public events; rental houses and other lodgings, including Airbnb; museums; massage centers; guided tours; hot air balloon rides; tourism walks, and all other tourist activities.
The health restriction protocols will determine entry into the city along the main entryways: Querétaro, Celaya-Comonfort, Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, Dr. Mora, and the Central de Autobuses (main bus station). Members of the National Guard, the municipal police, Civil Protection, and the Department of Health will conduct these checks. As part of the protocol, those entering the city will be asked their reason for coming in and their temperature will be checked. Their names and phone numbers will be registered.
The COVID-19 traffic signal
- Only essential activities are allowed, with health and hygiene measures in place.
- Health measures continue and non-essential activities are reopened.
- Public spaces are opened up with limitations and social distancing.
- Those with chronic illnesses may renew their activities, with health measures in place.
- Health measures will continue to be observed, even when non-essential activities are allowed.
- A reopening of open and closed public spaces, with attention to the health of the vulnerable sectors of the population.
- Public spaces will not be open, restricting activities for those who are vulnerable.
- A return to schools and school activities, including non-essential ones; a reopening of recreation and public spaces.
- Heightened monitoring of people with chronic illnesses.
- If federal government statistics are favorable, the “new normal” will be maintained in line with the health protocols.
- Schools will be closed and sports will not be allowed.
Every hotel will greet visitors with information about health safety. The visitors will be evaluated and will be asked to use hand disinfectant and a face mask (provided by the establishment) with instructions on its proper use.
Valet services, taxis, and shared rides for guests
- Guests will enter hotels through open doors, automated ones, or operated manually by an employee.
- Hotel employees will not open car or taxi doors.
- Guests needing the services of a bellboy will be provided with such service, and the cart where the suitcases are placed will be disinfected after each use.
- Valet services will be suspended till further notice.
Guest arrival in hotel vehicles
- Such vehicles will be cleaned thoroughly before and after each use.
- No more than four guests will be allowed inside an SUV, and no more than two in a sedan.
- Guests will not be allowed to sit in the front passenger seat.
Use of elevators by hotel guests
- An employee will be present to disinfect all the panels and buttons regularly, at least once an hour.
- Signs will be placed to explain all current procedures.
- No more than four passengers will be allowed per elevator.
- Each guest will receive a packet of accessories during check-in, which will include face masks, hand disinfectant, and a print-out of Covid-19 information.
- Each room will have spray disinfectant and/or towelettes for the use of guests (subject to availability and not including for children).
Cleaning products and cleaning procedures
- The hotels will use EPA-approved products and follow the recommended protocols. The products are effective against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
- The hotels are working with providers to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of these products and personal protective equipment for the employees.
Public spaces and common areas
The frequency of cleaning and disinfection has increased in all public spaces. There is a particular emphasis on those surfaces with high contact levels. This includes reception counters, elevator buttons, door handles, public bathrooms, room faucets, locks, ATMs, cashiers’ windows, electronic games, gym equipment, dining surfaces, and rest areas.
The same protocols for cleaning and disinfection will be followed to clean the guest rooms, with particular attention to those areas that get the most contact, such as TV remote controls, seats, toilet handles, door handles and furniture door handles, faucets, night tables, telephones, room control panels, light switches, temperature control panels, alarm clocks, luggage racks, and floors.
All bedsheets and night clothes will be changed daily and washed with hot water, according to measures instituted by the CDC. Dirty laundry will be placed in bags in the guest rooms to keep contact to a minimum before it is transported to the laundry.
Interior areas of hotel properties
The frequency of cleaning and disinfection will increase in high-traffic areas within the property. Emphasis will be placed on employee dining areas, entry ways, uniform changing rooms, employee bathrooms, dumb waiters, kitchens, security scanning areas, employee desks, and conference rooms.
Shared tools and equipment will be disinfected before, during, and after each shift, and at any time these pass from one employee to another. This includes telephones, radios, computers, and any other communication technology, credit card readers, kitchen utensils, engineering tools, folders, cleaning supplies, clocks, and any other articles that are used by the entire complex. There will no longer be sharing of dishware and drinking cups in employee kitchens and cafeterias.
Reuse of guest rooms
In case of a presumed case of COVID-19, that guest room will be retired from service and will be placed in quarantine. The room will not be used until the case has been confirmed or cleared. In the case of a positive result, the room will be subjected to the accepted protocol for clearance through the direction of a licensed expert and with the protocol dictated by the health authorities.