Mexico’s COVID Approach Means Casinos Stay Open

In a controversial approach to coronavirus, Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, remains convinced that COVID-related closures of local businesses do more harm than good. As such, the country has been left in a state of relative upheaval, with local and federal governments facing off to determine how to best protect their citizens. As such, casinos across the country will remain open — with a few exceptions.

The coastline of Acapulco, Mexico.

The resistance of Mexico’s President to take a cautious approach to COVID-19 has caused many local and state governments to have to make tough decisions. ©N3otr3x/Pixabay

Nuevo Leon: Braving a Different Tactic

In a recent statement, the governor of Nuevo Leon, one of Mexico’s 32 states, announced widespread closures of many elements of public life. This statement followed suit with similar decisions made on the part of governments around the world, shuttering businesses from bars and restaurants to schools, movie theaters, and casinos.

According to coverage of Mexico’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the decision on the part of the Nuevo Leon government is among the more stringent measures taken in Mexico to protect citizens from the novel virus. Other parts of the country have adopted less strict guidelines, while others still carry on with life as usual.

Sinaloa Also Closes Casinos (Among Other Things)

Sinaloa, a state in Mexico known for its close connections to the infamous drug cartels in Mexico, also announced similarly cautious measures. At the end of March, state officials enforced the closure of gyms, cinemas, bars, and casinos. Sinaloa and Nuevo Leon are two of the only Mexican states to enforce such strict rules.

Cancún: Leading the Trend

One of the first regions in Mexico to decide definitively on their approach to the coronavirus was Cancún, whose government announced several weeks ago that all casinos would be closed for the foreseeable future.

In a statement made by Cancún Mayor María Lezama Espinosa, the closure of Cancún’s casinos will be accompanied by the shutdown of many other local businesses, including movie theaters, bars, and discotheques. This will surely bring Cancún’s famously colorful nightlife to a grinding halt.

Closures In Other Parts of Mexico

Another of Mexico’s 32 states, this time Jalisco, also adopted some measures in response to the novel coronavirus. These measures consist of a 5 day complete suspension of any activities which are economic, and even religious or social. At last count, the state of Jalisco had 46 reported cases of COVID-19.

Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, has also enforced some fairly strict regulations. These include banning gatherings of more than 50 people, as well as the mandatory closures of local gyms, museums, and clubs. At last count, there were 60 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Mexico City.

Finally, Queretaro, another of Mexico’s states, decided to suspend public funerals. In what was surely a difficult decision, Queretaro state officials determined that any of the deceased who have died as a result of COVID-19 would have to be cremated. The cremations of COVID patients in Queretaro is now mandatory.

AMLO’s Controversial COVID Stance

Many have criticized Mexico’s President Obrador — also often referred to affectionately by his initials, AMLO — for his less-than-cautious approach to the novel virus, which has already spread to infect a reported 1.2 million individuals worldwide. At the end of March, Mexico had recorded 367 cases of the highly infectious virus.

President Obrador has repeatedly assured Mexico’s citizens that concerns about the virus are overblown, and is continuing to personally attend and host rallies, shaking hands and kissing his supporters. In a news conference, Obrador explained that his unique approach to the virus came from economic concern.

“There are many millions of Mexicans who live from day to day. So we have to take care of their health and at the same time the economy.”

Obrador said in his morning news conference. Mexico’s economy has long been fragile, and would be devastated by mandated closures like those happening around the world.

Despite AMLO’s Reluctance, Local Governments Act

As demonstrated by the above statistics, many governments of Mexico’s 32 states are deciding to ignore the repeated statements of their country’s President and enforce what are in some cases extremely cautious — and public health recommended — measures. What has ensued is a stalemate of sorts between the federal and local governments.

Still, those in Mexico currently report that public life has slowed down considerably. Many in the country credit local governments — and not the federal government — for what public health officials consider to be the practical and best preventative approach to continuing the devastating spread of the novel coronavirus.

Moreover, Mexico’s health ministry decided that Monday, March 23 was to be a national “healthy distancing” day, sparked by a plan to set off a a monthlong public initiative to convince Mexico’s citizens to stay at home and keep a healthy distance from one another. Mexico’s health minister, Hugo Lopez, insisted that this was “not a total economic pause.”

Is It Safe to Go to A Casino?

The decision on the part of President Obrador to keep local businesses open is likely appreciated by business owners, but public health officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) urge members of the public to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid any non-essential outings.

As such, with this guidance in mind, it is advisable to avoid non-essential trips including going to a brick-and-mortar casino. For this reason, it is a great opportunity to be able to explore the vast iGaming options one can pursue from home, including bingo, lottery, slots, and even sports betting.

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A street parade in Mexico.

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