Besides agriculture, the state of Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico, depends on tourism for its existence. Beginning in mid-March 2020, COVID-19 devastated the state’s economy as masses of visitors left and those who booked for April, May and after were canceled. Restaurants, bars, mezzalias, hotels and virtually every other retail and service business have closed out of fear and caution and due to government regulations. We should not cry for the owners of the above facilities, but for their employees. Mexico simply does not have the social networks normally found in first world countries that provide economic relief to workers. Instead of crying, we need to help.
In southern Mexico, especially in Oaxaca, locals generally live daily without saving for a rainy day or for retirement. This also applies to some of the middle class. It is more a question of culture than of Western common sense. Indeed, at some level, entrepreneurs in fact recognize that their economic wealth depends on subjects beyond their control. Remember the riots of 2006, the Mexican swine flu (H1N1), the American economic crisis, the belligerent drug cartels and the way the US State Department and the journalists dealt with any problem in Mexico resulting from paternalism or shock media drives followers. Now it’s COVID-19, the corona virus. This is not to downplay the severity of the pandemic; on the other hand. Considering the huge difference between Oaxaca and the Western worldview, the lack of advance planning for such eventualities is understandable.
Of course, based on my Canadian education, at first glance, I should suggest that the Oaxaca in the retail and service sectors should use a little common sense to realize that we never know when the next crisis will occur, and so will every potential business. should take this into account when thinking about entrepreneurial aspirations from the start and planning for difficult cases while serving tourists in good times. You should throw away some of your profits. However, it is an ethnocentric approach rather than the preferred cultural relativist perspective.
Unfortunately, it is understandable that many business people in Oaxaca do not have enough bank funds to overcome their own personal problems. for food, accommodation and payment of other necessary expenses. The situation is much more convincing for their employees!
Tourism will return to pre-COVID-19 levels, but not until well into 2021, if not later. We are convinced of it. Daylight saving time, Day of the Dead and Christmas will not be the same. Easter and spring break are already lost. Some who would otherwise visit in the future will avoid Oaxaca out of fear, while others will not have the savings for a vacation until next year or the following year.
Much of the aid falls on the shoulders of expatriate residents, typical tourists, snowbirds and part-time workers. I don’t think we can count on the good graces of Oaxacan entrepreneurs if we don’t do much ourselves. But we can do our part, even if it means shaming some of us non-Mexicans for doing the right thing.
Ask the establishments you usually visit what you can do now to help you! Phone or email. It doesn’t matter if local business owners know or need to know that the coronavirus pandemic is not something that should have been a big surprise … as we all realize that Oaxaca’s business assets are like spikes and valleys. or climate models whose destructive powers we know, but never exactly when the next ones will affect us.
If you have to trade in the markets on your first or next visit to Oaxaca, do so with a lot less force, but better, but not at all. Be much more generous with your household, your food packer, your waiter, and your bartender. and maybe even think of this young seller in the craft store. You will help the Oaxacans and you will feel better.