Street vendors protest coronavirus lock-down in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY  — About 200 street vendors briefly blocked several major avenues in downtown Mexico City on Saturday to demand they be allowed to sell again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The sidewalks of the colonial-era downtown are usually crowded with vendors who lay out their wares on wire racks or blankets. But since March, the city has banned such informal commerce and closed most established businesses in the district to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

Protesting vendors carried signs and chanted slogans claiming they could no longer bear the lockdown. Most have no unemployment insurance, and after three months of not selling many are growing desperate.

Officials had allowed a partial reopening of downtown this week although virus cases continue to climb, but they reversed course Friday after a lack of sanitary measures were reported at some stores.

While most customers and employees wore some form of face mask, many stores didn’t reduce the number of clients allowed in or provide the required foot-wiping pads or sanitizer gel.

The joint reopening plan required the active participation of the government, the public and store owners, and Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said it would now be rethought.

Reopening plans in other parts of the city were not affected by the reversal on the downtown area.

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