The number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise in San Miguel. Between April and May of this year there were fewer than 10 positive cases, but as of as August 18, that number had risen to 222 active infections—and these are only those cases registered by the Department of Health.
Despite the numbers, visitors are coming to the city. According to Francisco Aguirre, one of the greatest beneficiaries is the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (CANIRAC), of which he is president. Aguirre told Atencion that the 2021 figures, compared to those of 2020, are “good.” He noted that if you go back to the data of 2019, the current figures show that the industry has rebounded by 200 percent.
Aguirre explained to Atencion that people must feel confident when they go out to eat or drink at any of the unionized establishments (120 restaurants). To this end, the current administration has been working toward full vaccination, not only of restaurant staff, but also the companies that provide tourist services. In fact, anyone who has contact with visitors who may be exposed to infection should be vaccinated.
“Currently, we are working so that the staff who have direct contact with the diners, wear a button that says, “I am vaccinated” or something similar,” added Aguirre.
Aguirre was pleased to note that contrary to what has happened in general in Mexico, where more than 100,000 restaurants have had to close, in San Miguel, of the 120 establishments registered with CANIRAC, only one—La Casa del Diezmo on Jesús Street—closed, and that was entirely unrelated to the contingency. “In fact, they were looking for another location,” he said. He also remarked that investments continue, and despite the contingency ten new establishments have opened.
Generally, Mexico has not faced an issue with people resisting vaccination; instead they eagerly wait for the doses to arrive so they can be inoculated and protect themselves and others. Aguirre explained that in countries like Russia, Italy, and France, it has been found that the key to accessing public spaces is being vaccinated. In Mexico, CANIRAC decided to launch a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated benefit from unionized locales.
“For customers who get vaccinated, the benefits are in affiliated businesses. We want them to get a discount, a complimentary drink or a dessert. This will depend on each establishment. But we would like this to be offered to anyone who shows proof of vaccination. It does not matter if you are a local, national, or foreign visitor, the benefit is for everyone,” stressed Aguirre.
He also said that the promotions depend on the individual establishments, and these are frequently published on facebook.com/CaniracSanMigueldeAllende. Aguirre stressed that the promotion is the decision of each establishment, and is not intended to happen all at once. “There is no limit to the number of times; it is up to each place. I have asked that it be recurring, that the restaurants give incentives to clients to return, so that the economy may reactivate. We are working to normalize this. That there be no limit to the promotion—two, three, four times. It is useful for all of us to offer the promotion.”
Currently, there are an estimated 417 restaurants in San Miguel; of these, only 120 are registered with CANIRAC. “The contributions, which are generally the pretext for not joining, are low. The maximum is five thousand pesos a year for a restaurant that can seat more than 120 diners,” said Aguirre.
He concluded, “Some may think that there are no benefits, but for example getting the vaccine in the tourism service sector is an achievement. We also work toward the safety of the locales, process paperwork, etc.” To join CANIRAC, you can contact Aguirre via Whatsapp on 4151139832.
Atencion questioned the local Mexican Social Security Institute to determine if it keeps a record of people who have been infected by Covid, and were not vaccinated. The answer was negative. The same happened with the Red Cross; the data they accumulate is diverse, but they do not ask if the patient they transport is vaccinated.