Today, June 27, 2020, the Yucatan is in its 4th month of the Pandemic with little signs of improvement. At one time, the Yucatan had some of the strictest policies to enforce social distancing in Mexico, but the efforts seem to be unsuccessful. Why? In my opinion, the public does not take these policies of social distancing serious.
Regardless of a policy in place by the government, it is up to the local population to follow the guidelines developed by the medical community to end the threat of the Pandemic. Places where social distancing guidelines are the strictest, the amount of new cases from the pandemic are improving. But in Mexico, the Pandemic is still spreading at an alarming rate.
Scientific consensus has concluded that everyone should be wearing mask in public, should be keeping a minimal distance between individuals and should be avoiding crowded indoor places. These behaviours are the key to ending the Pandemic. But I am not observing such behaviour here in Merida.
Wearing mask according to scientist and medical professionals, does not reduce your chance of becoming infected, but reduces your chances of spreading the virus. Most could never know if they are a carrier. It is best to wear a mask regardless of your opinion, comfort, level of concern, etc… You violate the safety of others not following this guideline that is scientifically proven.
My Personal observation of daily life in Merida
I do a biweekly shopping trip. This is the only time I do out shopping. Twice a month when I buy everything we need for the next two weeks. This is to minimize my interaction with the general public, aka following social distancing protocols. My last trip out, did I see people take the pandemic serious? Not really?
What I observed:
An older American/Canadian man inches from the face of a Home Depot employees with his mask off trying to ask a question. I am sure it was difficult to communicate as Home Depot was over crowded for a Pandemic. But this man has taken the right of safety of the working away by removing the wearing a mask, entering close proximity to the employee and talking extremely loud.
Hence another problem, why was Home Depot not managing the crowd. There should have been a line to enter as the store was the most crowded space I have seen in the past 4 months. I will probably not return until I hear they are controlling the amount of people.
This sounds ridiculous to you? Click Here!
Of course every where there is someone with their nose uncovered, or talking loudly on the phone. Many times people take their mask off to speak on the phone. Talking loudly in confined spaces increases the chances of spreading the virus. I would estimate 10 to 20 % of the population is not wearing their mask properly.
During my shopping trip I needed to go to the ATM. I arrived at the Bancomer on Paseo de Montejo to find the ATM lobby full of people with their mask off. One was a family of four, one has the mask on, one has their nose uncovered, one had the mask below their chin and another was carrying the mask in their hands. And a lady with no mask at all, in the lobby of the ATM speaking on the phone loudly.
What should have been observed at the ATM lobby. Everyone has a mask on. The family of four, three of the members wait outside and the fourth member enters the lobby alone with their mask on correctly. The lady who needed to make a phone call, step outside and make the call with mask on.
Then there was Costco. Costco does a great job during the Pandemic. They were one of the first stores to develop a protocol for social distancing. Cleaning carts, checking for members only, making sure one family per cart, social distancing at the check out, etc…
However, expats seem to still get in as couples. I never seen expat shop alone in the past few month in Costco. It is always seems to be couples. But that again is against social distancing protocol. Should always one person per household shopping. I have even observed expats with their house employee.
Shop alone. Best Policy.
These observations might seem petty, but the Pandemic is not getting better and there must be a reason.
You should properly wear a mask anytime you encounter anyone outside of your household, regardless of who they are and where you are.
Our personal habits
First, Alejandro has not been outside of the house since March. He now is working on his PhD from home, so there is no reason for him to leave.
I try to leave the house as little as possible. So I combine essential appointments, essential shopping and essential business on the same day when possible. I do not attend any not essential appointments. I wait outside of the showing of my listings. Besides to shop for essentials and essential appointments, I have not been out in public since March.
When I do return home from an outing, I undress in the front of the house, then I immediately head to the shower. Shoes stay outside. New purchases stay in the front of the house for a day or so. Or are clean and bought into the kitchen.
Hand sanitizer is used often while I am out and mask stays on the entire time while out.
I do my best to keep distance from people. Hard to do while shopping, people follow distancing in lines, but will push into you for a can of corn.
I also observe the stores policy. I have stopped going to some stores who I do not feel that enforce guidelines to ensure public safety.
Social Distancing Policy
With the mentioned stories above, I have decided to make public my professional policy for real estate appointments.. I do want to make a statement and show my support to end the pandemic here in the Yucatan. There policies will be observed until WHO deems the Pandemic to be over.
- Essential appointments only. Pandemic is not time to be kicking the tires. All appointments should be have one purpose. Buying/selling property.
Maybe you are thinking next year you want to buy, well a Pandemic is not the time to be window shopping. This is a great time to develop a relationship with an agent by phone and email, but not the time to be asking for appointment to visit homes with no intention to buy.
- Mask must be worn properly while inside the property. No exceptions.
- Only the buyer should attend the appointment with their agent. No friends or family.
- Listing agents and owners should wait outside during the showing.
- During showing, distance should be respected.
- Any symptoms of illness, appointments should be canceled.
- **If you plan to shop for real estate, you should be strictly following social distancing protocols weeks before making appointments and during your property search.
New efforts to keep real estate movning forward:
To help my sellers and buyers to move forward through the Pandemic, I have created 360 tours and Video Tours of all my properties. While most buyers will always have the need to visit a property before making an offer, 360 tours and videos tours can offer options for a buyer to experience the property without having to visit. These online tours with assist buyers with having a better understanding of the property and to know the property meets their needs before the showing. 360 tours gives a realistic feel for the space, and layout. The goal is to reduce needless showings and to focus on buyers who are serious about the property.
360 tours and video tours can also lead to sight unseen offers which I have already received two in the past month.
This blog post is not a political statement. This is not an attempt to overthrow a government, to destroy the global economy for a liberal take over or an attempt to kill you by making you die from Carbon Dioxide poisoning from wearing a mask while shopping.
This is my support for the scientific and medical community. This is support for my community to return to a healthy and productive state. I am not a doctor nor a virologist, but I will continue to follow their professional guidelines and I do ask my community, my clients and my colleagues in real estate to do the same.