GUADALAJARA – Small and medium businessmen protested to demand from the state government of Jalisco, in western Mexico, the end of the measures of confinement and closure of businesses designed to avoid COVID-19 infections.

With signs with captions like “We want to work!” and “The government is here to take care of the people!”, owners of gyms, sports and aesthetic schools and other workers asked Governor Enrique Alfaro to reopen their businesses, almost bankrupt.

In the crowd was Alejandro Cárdenas, owner of a taekwondo school who said that many of the academies are on the edge of their finances and others are about to close due to compulsory isolation.

“The concern that all schools have of having more than two months unopened, without operating and obviously the services and expenses continue to run, it is unfortunate to see classmates with more than 20 years (of work) having to close their businesses”, express.

The protest happened even though Mexico is in the most critical phase of the coronavirus outbreak, registering a record increase on Saturday, adding 3,059 new cases of COVID-19 to total 65,856.

In addition, it exceeded 7,000 deaths to total 7,179.

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Before the Mexican government implemented the health emergency on March 30, Jalisco was one of the first states to take measures to contain COVID-19 infections, with mandatory social isolation and closure of non-essential businesses.

After 68 days of isolation, the entity with more than 8 million inhabitants exceeded one hundred deaths and 1,594 confirmed cases of contagion of the new coronavirus, of which only 1,132 appear in the daily report of the federal government.

On the other hand, in April alone, the entity lost 25,566 permanent jobs and 12,579 temporary ones, according to state government figures.

The local administration has projected an economic revival plan to gradually open businesses that comply with health protocols and physical distance.

The project, which would run until September, defines the phases for various business lines to open.

Without physical distance and without face masks, the protesters claimed that the Mexican government has “manipulated the pandemic” to force them to be at home, which has “paralyzed” the citizens’ economy.

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Therefore, they demanded that the governor give them back “the right to work” and that the merchants can overcome the economic problems they face.

Fernando Vázquez, owner of a sports academy explained that they have followed the sanitary norms imposed by the health authorities and are prepared to receive their students again.

“The disagreement is that establishments such as bars or liquor stores can open, and where is the sport? We, as workers, is the only income we have, “he said.