Friday, March 20, 2020

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Friday, March 20

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Sunrise with frigates & moon sliver
Second day of Spring
From MaraVilla Caribe Bed & Beach 

The US State Dept has raised its international travel advisory to: Do Not Travel-Level 4. It says: "The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period." LINK   

New ferry schedules: .
#1 is Ultramar passenger ferry that docks at Gran Puerto.
#2 is Naveganto who dock in Puerto Juarez, effective today.
#3 is Ultracarga vehicle ferry from Punta Sam, since earlier this week.
Photo credit for #1 to La Tertulia.

What's closed & what's not on the island.
The ferries are running with new schedules, see above. . Only one of the three ferries from the Hotel Zone is operating.
The municipal offices are operating. The City closed the Senior Facility and the DIF Day-Center. The schools will be closed after Friday for a month,(nationally). Families are advised to stay home during this time & not vacation.
Sports events are cancelled. The Circus performances are cancelled, as are all Catholic masses & meetings.
Bars, Clubs, Discos & Gyms close starting today, until Health authorities authorize reopening. Restaurants remain open, including dine-in, so far. This may seem confusing since the liquor license of many bars requires they serve food, while many restaurants serve alcohol. It depends on their license & your impression of the establishment as a bar or as a restaurant is probably correct. And of course, some restaurants may opt to close, themselves.
Enjoy the first day of Spring!

The first sunrise of Spring, from the eastern edge of Mexico.
From the City....

The government is disinfecting vehicles as they disembark from the ferry and the taxis, as well as public buildings.

VIDEO of vehicles being disinfected

If you have these symptoms call:
FEDERAL HEALTH šŸ“± 800 004 4800
HEALTH QROO ☎️ 800 032 9198
TOURISM šŸ“ž 800 277 4780
Fever, headache, sneezing, cough, difficulty breathing in serious cases, general malaise

The City General Secretary, Miriam Trejo LeĆ³n, headed the briefing with concessionaires of Playa Norte and Playa Centro to advise them about the situation and recommendations of the health authorities, because in Isla Mujeres these spas beaches have the highest flow of visitors. She said, "We have to be responsible, it is up to be responsible and to abide by the prevention measures that have been dictated, well as to taking preventive actions." (The rest of this article is about measures that are being taken, including cancelling events, disinfecting pubic spaces & public transort, and closing bars...see above and yesterday's edition.)

The Directors of various municipal departments are participating in efforts to raise awareness among the population about the importance of prevention, so that Isla Mujeres can continue with zero cases of this disease. The City General Secretary, Miriam Trejo Leon, said that many businesses, mainly restaurants, have been visited to encourage them to join in the prevention measures, which include healthy distancing, and frequent hand washing, as well as inviting the diners. The government has been carrying out an intense brigade of sanitizing of offices, public areas, public transort, and taxis.

The City closed the sports facilities to prevent possible contagion of COVID-19. Areas that were closed until further notice included the tennis court, the School of Boxing, and the Bicentennial Dome.  It is also noted that the ferry times have changed so users should be aware of the new schedule.  

TVisla Mujeres    

Chetumal (state capitol)--State Congress has suspended activities until the end of this contingency LINK 

Governor Carlos JoaquĆ­n announced three objectives in his coronavirus care plan (Covid-19):
1. Take care of the population's health and prevent the disease from progressing.

2. Support families in stages of health and economic crisis.
3. Recover the economy once the crisis is over.
     The Governor of Quintana Roo explained that, to achieve the stated objectives, preventive measures will be insisted on, increasing social distancing every day, monitoring the workforce, socially supporting people and preparing tourist destinations for recovery.
      Carlos JoaquĆ­n affirmed that everyone's support, solidarity, caring for families, discipline in preventive measures and the resilience that Quintana Roo has shown in difficult times will allow citizens to get ahead.
    The day before, the Governor of Quintana Roo met with businessmen from the Governing Board of the Tourism Promotion Council of Quintana Roo (CPTQ) to review the economic situation of the industry for Covid-19 and take care of the sources of employment, take care of the health, support the families of the state and make a strategy of recovery of the economy.
      "As always, together we will get ahead," said Governor Carlos JoaquĆ­n.

 State officials advised churches, religious groups and organizations to suspend public worship activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect their parishioners. The suspension of group events is one of the main recommendations made by specialists, the State Health Department and international groups such as the World Health Organization (WHO). The religious organizations were also asked to encourage preventative measures among their parishioners in their homes, through social media networks and other media.

It is official that beginning on Friday, there will be no more masses and no Viacrucis (reenactment of the Stations of the Cross/Passion of Christ)

The Mayor met with business owners and announced the closing of bars, nightclubs, discos and gyms, beginning on Thursday, in accordance with the recommendations of the Department of Health to all the municipalities of Q Roo. In Cancun, this also included casinos.
  In the case of supermarkets, the recommendation is to maintain a distance of at least one and a half meters, in addition to providing hand-gel dispensers. It was also recommended that disinfection be carried out of railings, door handles, and faucets, as well as keeping areas clean and ventilated with some sunlight.
   The Mayor said that as of that time, the health authorities had not placed any restriction on restaurants. LINK  

Thursday--The Director of the Community Hospital in Isla Mujeres announced that there is a false rumor circulating, and she clarified that there have been no suspicious cases of Coronavirus in Isla Mujeres. LINK

Thursday--VIDEO of the state Director of the Department of Health who says there have been six cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Authorities closed the pier at Capitan Dulches on Wednesday because the owners of the restaurant have repeatedly declined to pay for the concession for use of the area, which is public property, and payment must be made to the state Port Authority (APIQRoo) for the right to use this part of the Federal Zone, which the owner has not done.
   Before securing the pier, personnel with APIQRoo removed a group of metal sculptures representing a group of musicians, which had been installed on post in the water of the Federal Zone.  The pier was secured with three tarps and an "asegurado" sign was placed, with logos of the General Director of Ports and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT)The platform next to the dock was not secured, because it has not been registered by APIQRoo, so the company may continue to use it.

Taxistas take action against Coronavirus LINK  
 JosĆ© MagaƱa GaluĆ©, leader of the Taxi Drivers Union explained that since last week the staff (operators) took a course taught by the medical staff of the Community Hospital on the hygiene measures to be taken. The Mayor donated equipment to help sanitize the vehicles.  The Union leader said they have acquired antibacterial gel which is provided for free to the passengers when boarding. (photos of taxis being disinfected and passengers using gel)

Decreased gas prices

Thursday--Peso dropped to 24.36 per dollar.

Information about fees & flight changes:
Aeromexico--No fees for changes of dates for flights purchased in March
Interjet-No fees for changes
Volaris--Will apply its usual fees
American Airlines--No fee for change of dates to flights within 30 days of the original flight date.
Viva Aerobus--No fees for changes of tickets purchases before March 1st to fly until April 30th.
Alitalia-No fee for reservation changes up to June 30th.
United-No penalty for changes on flights between March 10 and April 30.

   La Tertulia  

On Thursday around 10pm, a 10 year-old child was anonymously reported missing and a protocol was enacted. Municipal authorities conducted a search and the minor was located near colonia Caridad del Cobre in a state of good health.

From  Por Esto :

Residents of Punta Sur want coastal accesses reopened  

Demandan reabrir accesos a playas

  March 19   After a recent meeting of about 50 residents of Punta Sur, they presented a request to the City to unblock accesses to the beaches and the bocacalles/street-ends  (lit.-mouth of the street). They wrote, "Some roads that were previously accesses to the beach have been converted into private land obstructing the passage with buildings." However, due to the landslides of the cliffs from the passage of heavy vehicles in the Federal Zone and the ongoing private construction, they are requesting prohibiting vehicles Tortuga street which leads to the Caribbean sea, and restricting it to pedestrian use. 
   They also said the root of the problems is "over-densification" in the areas where the sea was previously visible, and now there are many foreigners building houses of more than two stories which block the sea views. 
   The requested a meeting with the Directors of the Departments of Ecology, Cadastre (deeds) and Urban Development (zoning) to discuss the regulations, measures and boundaries of the public roads, zoning/land use of the occupied properties, and the rights to use public spaces in Section (Supermanzana) 009, Mar Turquesa subdivision, where they allege there are violations of the regulations and laws about occupation of public land. 
   The document also included a request that the areas of the street and sidewalks be fully repaired, which were affected by the introduction of the wastewater network, and that all debris be removed.

Flow of visitors maintained  

Se mantiene el flujo de visitantes

   The number of visitors arriving on the ferries continues, with a slight decrease. The recreational boats who bring visitors to enjoy Sac Bajo and the downtown area have reported cancellations in the upcoming weeks.
   The hotels have begun preventative measures which include not greeting guests or staff with handshakes. If any guests are detected with elevated temperatures, they will be isolated in their rooms with medical monitoring until they are well.
  The flow of visitors to the beaches continues to support the economy, and nearly all the umbrellas were rented on Playa Centro on Tuesday. The masseurs are reporting a dramatic drop in demand, and say they are barely working at 30 percent. The vendors report slow sales and waiters say they are not earning very much in tips.
   At 3pm, there were only about six boats near Playa Norte, reflecting an ongoing decrease number of recreational boats arriving.  The demand for golf carts has not decreased significantly, and about 80% of them have been rented in recent days. Some taxi drivers report they are still picking up riders around the island, and many want to make money before everything stalls, when tourism is minimal. 

Isla Mujeres news briefs   

Breves de Isla Mujeres

  The final competitions for the championship of the regional league has been suspended indefinitely, which came down to the two Isla Mujeres teams, (after the Cockteleros won Group A and the Pescadores won Group B) who were about to play their second match on Sunday, March 22 at the el Pescador stadium. The indefinite suspension was announced on Tuesday, until the coronavirus health contingency passes, as an act of prevention. The Cockteleros won the first match, and would become two-time champions if they win the second match. (Last year the championship also came down to these two Isla Mujeres teams.


  This blog is brought to you by....

MaraVilla Caribe   Bed & Beach    Four rentals with large glass doors overlooking our white sand beach and the beautiful Caribbean sea, with  kitchenettes & fast WIFI. In the upscale neighborhood of  Bachilleres, convenient to downtown or the colonias, yet separate.  Quiet & Private.   
A large slider opens from each of the 3 rooms onto the patio where each has a table & chairs, hammock & clotheslines. The BBQ is behind the pole, and the outdoor shower is out of the pic at left.

"Reverse Sunset" (looking east from MVC)
Free amenities include hammocks, portable beach chairs, beach towels, washer & dryer, loungers, shared bikes, BBQ grill, and safes.  Panoramic views from the rooftop terrace. Large sliding doors open to a patio & the white sand backyard-beach, overlooking the Caribbean sea.  Downtown is  ~ a mile away; we're on all four bus routes or  flag a $3 taxi. Off street parking. You can enjoy the music & crowds downtown, then return to the quiet neighborhood of Bachilleres and  sleep to the sounds of the sea.$275/$325/$425 wk   $40/50/$65nt  Monthly Discounts
Fine dining a few steps away at Da Luisa or try the neighborhood eateries a couple blocks farther. We provide a list of links & direction to over 20 eateries within ten minutes walk, including Mango Cafe,  Mike's Pizza, Brisas, Rosa Sirena, Coco Jaguar, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery Chedraui & the local craft brewery.  Visit marinas, bars, & beach clubs that are minutes away by bike or on foot. Attend Yoga classes a couple villas away at Casa Ixchel. Fresh juice, produce & tortillas a few blocks away in the village, as well as a variety of other stores.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
 At Sunset--March  9  7:09p (sets 7:07a)
March 10   8:13
March 11   9:17
 March 12  10:20
 March 13   11:22
This is the second of four supermoons for 2020. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth while full, causing it to appear slightly larger and brighter than usual.

 Sunset  6:52-7:02pm (beginning vs end of month)
Sunrise ~7:07-6:40am
Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
March Events 
Provided by MaraVilla Caribe & Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events

Thursday afternoons ~3p-8p Artist Fair on the Paseo de la Triguena off the Town Square at the malecon by the food trucks.

Sunday's at 1p there may be baseball games at the stadium in front of Chedraui. There are two teams, the Pescadores & the Cockteleros, who are in Category A & Category B of the same league, which is currently having the playoffs for the season championship.

Occasionally, Sunday evenings 8p on the Town Square "Noches Magicas" performances  

Fishermen in this region are banned from catching grouper, lobster and octopus during March  LINK

Sunday, March 1--At 1p at the Pescaodores baseball field the Isla Mujeres Pescadores will play the Rockies of Cancun, after losing the first game in their three game series in the semifinals. If the Pescadores beat the Rockies twice, they will win in Group B category of their league. The Isla Mujeres Cockteleros won the Group A category & are waiting to see who they'll  play from Group B for the league championship. LINK  

Thursday, March 5--There is usually a ceremony commemorating the arrival of Francisco Hernandez Cordoba in 1517, who is credited with discovering the Yucatan and what is now Mexico, after landing on Isla Mujeres. The expedition of 110 men in 3 boats sailed from Cuba and around the coast, battling with the Maya, until all but one were injured, and over 50 had died. Cordoba died after returning to Cuba.

Sunday, March 8--International Women's Day

Monday, March 9--Full Moon, which is the second of four Super Moons in 2020, meaning it is at its closest approach to the Earth while full, making it appear slightly larger and brighter than usual.

Tuesday, March 10-Civic Ceremony at 9am on the Town Square 

Monday, March 16--Day off in honor of the birthday of Benito Juarez on March 21st.

Tuesday, March 17--St Patrick's Day

Wednesday March 18--Observation of Oil Expropriation Day (not an official day off--businesses & schools will be operating normally). Commemorates the nationalization of Mexico's oil fields on this date in 1938.

Thursday, March 19--Spring Equinox

Thursday, March 19--Dia de San Jose, which MAY be celebrated with a dance on the Town Square.

Tuesday, March 24-- Venus reaches its greatest eastern elongation of 46.1 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the bright planet in the western sky after sunset. Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation of 27.8 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise. New moon--lack of moonlight is the best time to observe galaxies & star clusters.

Friday & Saturday, March 27 & 28-- About 600 swimmers are expected to participate in the National Open Water Championship 2020 which will be held in Isla Mujeres on March 27 & 28. The winners of the 10 kilometer competition will represent Mexico in Tokyo during the pre-Olympic match for the Olympic games. The top 20 swimmers in the categories of 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19 divisions, in the categories of 5k, 7.5k and 10k will qualify for the National Conade Games 2020.

Sources for Weather Information:
LINK to Civil Protection Q Roo weather bulletin  (Spanish)
LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
 LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
 LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla Mujeres


The buses operate from 6a to 10p. The overhead digital display indicates whether they're going to the Tourism areas or the Colonias.The bus numbers don't indicate the route, they're numbered 1 thru 10.

The main downtown stops are just south of the Maritime (Ultramar) Terminal & across the street from it. In Centro, the buses stay on Medina, except they turn around near the Convention Center, behind the downtown Mercado. Outside of town, there are no designated stops & you flag them. Exit thru the back door, first pushing the red button nearby so the driver knows to stop.

Pay the driver 38 pesos/$2usd (or $9/175p for an all day pass). The front seats are for seniors, disabled & pregnant women. The 32 passenger buses have air conditioning & security cameras. (State residents pay 10p, INAPAM card holders & local students pay 5p.)  LINK to bus company page on FB.


Route 1 goes down the western side on Rueda Medina and returns northward on the east side via Jesus Martinez Ross. Its west-east transit is Paseo de los Peces in colonia La Gloria.

Route 2 goes down the eastern side on Jesus Martinez Ross and returns northward on the west side via Medina. Its east-west transit is also Paseo Peces.

Routes #1 & #2 aren't exact opposites.
#1 takes J.M. Ross northward all the way from Peces to downtown, traveling thru Salina Chica,
 #2 going southward turns left/east just before Salina Chica, leaving JM Ross & taking the Caribe Coastal road thru Meteorologico. I've heard it turns right/west back into the colonias by Madera Food & Art.


Now the company advises riding #3 to Sac Bajo and #4 to Punta Sur. 

Route 3 goes to Sac Bajo, down the western side of the isle on Medina.
(It was originally advertised as also going to Punta Sur. Then they said it only went to P.S. when that was the destination of passengers aboard, and otherwise after routing thru Sac Bajo it turned east on Paseo Peces & returned via the Caribbean Coastal road, Payo Obispo.)

Route 4 goes to Punta Sur & Garrafon down east side on the Caribbean Coastal road and returning northward on Medina to town.

This isn't a bus route map, it's a street map, showing how Jesus Martinez Ross follows the Caribbean coast until becoming the main street of Salina Chica and going on to La Gloria, while the Caribe Coastal road (aka Payo Obispo) follows the coast. The east-west transit, Paseo de los Peces, is shown, but not labeled, between colonia La Gloria and the Mundaca Hacienda. 

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