San Ignacio Wants Its Own Curfew Carve Out - 09/17/21 10:58 AM
The nation stood still, last night as PM Briceno announced yet another set of pandemic public health measures.
They included a 7:00 curfew and two no-move Sundays on September 26th and October 3rd but there was a reprieve for restaurants and hotels in the tourist hotspots of San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Hopkins, and Placencia. But while those establishments and their communities breathed a sigh of relief many in San Ignacio were not happy.
They told Cherisse Halsall about it earlier today.
I'm here in San Ignacio, Cayo where hotels, restaurants, and Tour operators
say "they vex."
Vex because when the PM granted exemptions to tourist hubs they found themselves off the list.
Now this emerging destination will have to struggle to make it through the new regs with that 7'o clock curfew and those lock down Sundays.
And, restrictions will hit hard at downtown eatery Ko'Ox-oh-Hanah, a tourist hot spot known for its burgers. Shift Manager Virgilia Chiac says restrictions are robbing her employees of their livelihoods.
Virgilia Chiac - Waitress/Shift manager
"It was a slap in the face because we are a tourist destination here in San Ignacio and we're all part of this together and we should all face it together no exceptions should have been made. It affects us tremendously because with curfew in place and takeout only for restaurants, it's a tremendous loss, we employed about 30 to 40 employees both the meat shop and the restaurant and by takeout only, reduces us to 30% so lots of us are single parents, the only bread winners for the home, so of all the districts I think Cayo has most of the tourists coming in through our Guatemalan borders and I think the government should consider San Ignacio."
And up in the Hills we spoke to reservation manager Gerald Woolers who says that while it's going to be difficult moving forward he still supports the PM's decision.
Gerald Wollers - Reservation Manager, Cahal Pech Resort
"I was a bit angry about it but in a way I understand the PM's perspective regarding why to leave the islands and coast them open, that's where a lot of tourist are located right now, Cayo is slowing down with tourists but in a way we also have tourists and we have to take care of our guests, so I was a bit angry but it might affect us in a way. That income won't be coming in and take-out, you don't get that much financing in terms of take-out, so I would drastically affect us.Working around the curfew hours and working along with our guests and making them comfortable at our hotel on the no movement day."
And that will be difficult because Sunday activities in Cayo once meant strolls down bustling Burns avenue, Jungle Treks, or expeditions to the ATM cave.
But with the new regs all that's left for the adventurous traveler is lounging by the pool.
We tried to speak with the managers of Maya walk tours but were told that due to the new regs they were busy restructuring tour dates. Their neighbor was closed today.
But it's not all doom and gloom for Cayo's tourist industry Gerald Wollers says since last night there have been some revisions to the regs.
"Since the revised by the BTB was issued this morning it allows hotels and restaurants to be able to be using the curfew until 9:00pm as long as you are an essential worker for hotels and resorts, right."
And while those revisions will allow for basic operations they aren't a cure-all for ailing tourism in the west. But what is?
"All I have to say is get vaccinated that's where we could get out of this loop, it does help in a way to get vaccinated and just get through with Covid."