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All non-resident foreigners to be vacated from Holbox

Holbox, Q.R. — UPDATED: Officials on the island of Holbox have given notice to foreigners who are not residents, that they are required to vacate the island.

The vacating of non-residents is being enforced by the island’s health head who has issued a formal letter notifying visitors that they need to return to their country.

Alejandro Montiel Walter, Director of Centro de Salud of Holbox, says exceptional measures will be enforced which include the total evacuation of foreigners without resident visas. The move is being made in order to preserve the health of the community and remain without positive cases of coronavirus.

The Total Evacuation Sanitary Framework of the island is an agreement also with hotels and owners of rental properties which will see the removal of people of foreign origin without residence, which includes people with tourist visas. People of foreign origin who have a work visa may stay, however, they must remain at home as per instructions of local authorities.

Enrique Ramírez Borras, president of the Holbox Development Council said that on Tuesday, hostels, hotels, Airbnb operators and campsites were informed that as of Wednesday, non-residents should not be on the island.

“There must be no one from outside, neither tourists nor all these volunteers,” he said adding that “In Cancun there are hotels in addition to embassies. The tourists will be better served there than here, because there are no guarantees here.”

He reiterated that the island remains free of coronavirus cases and that there are no facilities to care for potential COVID-19 patients. Once the island is emptied of non-residents, police will patrol streets and beaches during the day, enforcing the stay-at-home rule, and an evening curfew will be put into place.

At the same time, the US Department of State is urging Americans abroad to return home. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urged Americans abroad who want to return to do so “immediately,” amid a Global Level 4 Health advisory.

UPDATE: Alejandro Montiel Walter, Director of Centro de Salud of Holbox, says that island officials are not expelling non-resident foreigners from Holbox. Instead, he says that foreigners were invited to leave Holbox and go to Cancun due to the lack of medical supplies, as well as to preserve the health of the islanders before the health contingency.

He explained that after an emergency meeting with several island officials including Social and inter-institutional undersecretary of the Secretary of the Government Secretariat for the Northern Zone, Joel Espinoza Moreno, “I prepared the document regarding the behavior of foreigners who work on the island because they believed it was a vacation and they were drinking alcoholic beverages on the beaches and last Saturday, they had a rave party, which are illegal and usually organized in abandoned places or rural areas such as in Punta Coco.”

Montiel Walter added that the mayor has already started calling on foreigners to check their passports and immigration papers to find out whether or not they are legally in Holbox.

“They are around 200 foreigners, some of whom will have residency and others will be illegal who work here and who have already decided not to leave (…). It is about a hundred that surely remain in a situation illegally, but right now, it was determined that they can stay as long as they comply with the sanitary provisions due to the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Montiel Walter explained that what triggered the annoyance is that while local people respect the call for social isolation and do not go out, in Punta Coco, where a majority of foreigners reside, it seems that everyone is on vacation.