News media in Chetumal are reporting that the health system there is on the brink of collapse due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Chetumal has surpassed Cancun with the number of positive COVID-19 cases and only thirty-five beds are available for seriously ill patients. Health officials in Chetumal, according to news articles, say that at the current rate of increase in infections, in less than two weeks there will no longer be enough places to receive coronavirus patients. The economy in Chetumal has also taken a hard hit. Businesses there have closed down and those which have remained open are struggling to survive. The majority of those businesses heavily rely on Belizean consumers. Every year, more than five hundred thousand crossings from Belize into Chetumal are recorded and since the borders remain close, businesses have lost more than three hundred million pesos that would have been spent by Belizeans.  Head of International Cooperation Affairs at the Mexican Embassy María Garrido says the businesses in Chetumal miss Belizeans.

María Garrido, Head of International Cooperation Affairs, Mexican Embassy

“We have been in contact with CANATO and they have provided us with some data like an average on how important are Belizeans are for Chetumal particularly. We are talking about hardware stores, boutique and clothing stores, they depend forty percent on Belizeans, forty percent of their income. Travel agencies, beauty salons we are talking about between fifteen and thirty percent and obviously the restaurant and hotels are the most impacted by this situation. We are talking about, depends on the season, the hotels income depend on thirty to sixty five percent on the Belizean tourism. They say for example that somebody that works at the skincare area of Liverpool almost eighty percent of the commission that they received because of the sales comes from sales by Belizeans. This is huge thing for Chetumal. We are pretty sure that during the time the border remains close this will be having a negative impact in Cheutmal. We don’t know exactly because there are no like official numbers but they say at the beginning of the pandemic and the closure we are talking about three hundred million pesos lost just at the beginning of the pandemic, in the first most. For now we are seeing some media in Mexico that they are talking about almost one thousand medium or small companies closing down.”

Hipolito Novelo

“The businesses there in Chetumal miss Belizeans.”

María Garrido

“Yes, absolutely. I mean we know that now, like when we go to Chetumal we love to see a lot of Belizeans plates, Belizean cars. We can meet people at the restaurants and supermarkets. It is now the normality of Chetumal   to have Belizeans there and I think the landscape of Chetumal will not be the same without Belizeans. Not only for the numbers or the trade or commerce but also because they are part of the daily life of Chetumal.”

Channel 5

Treinta y cinco camas. Son los únicos espacios disponibles para los enfermos “graves” del Covid-19 en la capital del Estado. Las autoridades sanitarias confirmaron que al ritmo actual del incremento de contagios, en menos de dos semanas ya no se contará con lugares suficientes para recibir a los pacientes del coronavirus. Esta situación ha encendido las alarmas en el sector salud. Hoy con el 18 por ciento de los 371 casos ACTIVOS en estado grave, el reporte de la Secretaría de Salud evidenció que la ocupación hospitalaria de Othón P. Blanco es del 40 por ciento, contando las camas disponibles del IMSS, ISSSTE y el Hospital Oncológico adaptado por las fuerzas armadas.