Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal announces non-essential businesses will be shut down until further notice. Photo: Courtesy

Businesses that we can do without for now are shutting down Wednesday under state order.

To help manage the spread of coronavirus infections, Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal ordered most shops and businesses to close their doors to the public.

This strengthens a March 20 order that shuttered bars, night clubs, gyms and auditoriums and ordered restaurants closed by 10 p.m. Restaurants will now be prohibited from opening their dining rooms, leaving them only with delivery service — and knocking out profitable bar sales for the eateries that sold beer, wine and liquor.

The shutdown is in force “until further notice,” said the governor.

Excluded from the order are hospitals, pharmacies, convenience stores, traditional mercados, supermarkets, food production and distribution companies, gas stations, banks, public transport services, parcel and courier services, laboratories, private security services, platforms for home delivery of food and groceries, the media, medical supply and hygiene companies, insurance companies and drinking water retailers.

All shopping centers must remain closed while allowing access to banks, pharmacies and supermarkets.

Those who have to go out to buy food or medicine should travel alone, he said.

State police will patrol the region to enforce the law and head off vandals or looters. Already, police helicopters with search lights have circled above, looking for danger signs.

Vila Dosal said that local intensive care units could run out of beds if the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow.

“That is why it is essential that we Yucatecans help each other and stay home to reduce the current rate of infection as much as possible, otherwise there will be no place, nor enough personnel to attend to the Yucatecans who are contagious. We need to act now in order to avoid this situation. Stay at home so that we don’t saturate and collapse our health system. It is up to you,” said the governor.

Yucatan has counted 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most mild and treated at home, so far.

Nationally, Mexico declared a health emergency on Monday and issued stricter rules aimed at containing the fast-spreading coronavirus after its number of cases surged past 1,000 and the death toll rose sharply. Federal health officials reported 1,094 cases of coronavirus, up from 993 a day before, and eight more deaths, taking its total to 28.

For now, social-distancing standards mandate people remain at least six feet apart. But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that when the pandemic ends, he will summon the public to kiss and hug each other in the Zocalo of Mexico City and in all public squares.