San Miguel de Allende, a city known as the “Heart of Mexico” and located in the Bajio region, is set to enter Phase 0 of its COVID-19 Reactivation plan – activation of the local economy for the local residents – starting June 1.

During this initial phase of the plan, San Miguel will see most of the business infrastructure that affects local residents reopen, including restaurants, shopping centers, markets, public transportation, offices and more. At this point, hotels, bars, cantinas, clubs, public or hotel pools will not yet reopen.

All residents are asked to wear masks, practice social distancing and apply extensive hygiene practices. Businesses will be required to implement international-grade sanitation protocols, including shoe-cleaning, a decrease in interior foot traffic, set-up of dispensers of antibacterial sanitizer, provision of face masks for people without them and hourly disinfecting of public spaces. At no point can any groups gather inside or outside public spaces.

Access to San Miguel de Allende has been closed since March to non-residents, with city police filtering all its entrances. Those permitted to enter must not show symptoms of COVID-19 and be essential to the needs of the recovery phase the city is currently in.

San Miguel de Allende’s Mayor, Luis Alberto Villarreal García, clarified that San Miguel de Allende is not open to tourism. Phase 0 will reopen restaurants, operating at 50% capacity, and markets, at 30% capacity, for residents only.

“We still haven’t opened the doors to our visitors,” said Mayor Villarreal García in a press release statement. “San Miguel is not opening to tourism, not yet; We will do it gradually. Gradually and responsibly, as the number of infections marks us.”

San Miguel de Allende’s City Council has also passed an ordinance stating that guest properties cannot push bookings on digital platforms until the city enters Phase 3. If they do so, said the mayor, they are putting public health at risk.

During this current Phase, businesses are asked to obtain their “Health First” certification, which the city launched on May 25. The certification accredits compliance with sanitary protocols for reopening. Hotels (which may start reopening as Phase 1), golf courses, activity centers, cultural spaces (which may open on Phase 3), must apply for the certificate at sanmigueldeallende.gob.mx.

Businesses will have to complete a series of paperwork and training sessions and have local health and safety officials evaluate each location for certification as an establishment that puts the health and safely of its patrons first.

While recognizing the commitment of the people of San Miguel to safe recovery, the Mayor stressed that the beginning of Phase 0 does not imply a return to daily life as it was before. Rather, it is a different approach with attention to health care to avoid starting a lockdown again.