Mexico City to allow open-air events as coronavirus cases fall

People cross Reforma Avenue as the mayor of Mexico City said on Friday that the Mexican capital will lift restrictions on car traffic and public transport next week, allowing 340,000 factory workers to get back to work, even though new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are still rising, in Mexico City, Mexico June 12, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY, May 7 (Reuters) - Residents of Mexico City will be able to attend open-air concerts and sporting events at limited capacities beginning next week after a sustained drop in coronavirus infections, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Friday.

The new measures set to take effect on May 10 will include expanded access to movie theaters, banks and hotel-based conventions.

The relaxation of restrictions follow a months-long decline in the number of infections in the city and its sprawling metropolitan areas that house about 22 million people.

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The authorities lowered the capital's risk status to yellow on its four-step (red, orange, yellow, green) "traffic light" model the government is using to gradually repeal curbs on the economy and daily life.

Eduardo Clark, director general of the city's Digital Government agency, said the traffic light was lowered to yellow "due to the improvements we have seen since the second week of January to now".

Mexico City's COVID-19 patient occupancy rates in hospitals have fallen to their lowest level in the entire pandemic, Clark said at a press conference with Sheinbaum.

This will permit open-air sporting events at 25% capacity from May 12 while concerts and other entertainment venues, including some indoor events, can start on May 17 at 30% capacity. Alcohol will be banned at outdoor sporting events.

When asked if the opening could cause a spike in infections in the city, Sheinbaum said a number of factors could prevent that happening, including rising vaccination rates, discipline of citizens, warmer weather and a large number of previously infected citizens who could help generate herd immunity.

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Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez

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