LOCAL BUSINESSES LOSE REVENUES, CLOSE DUE TO UNDERPASS PROJECTThe hotly controversial underpass now being built at the busy intersection of Paseo de Montejo and Circuito Colonias has caused a political firestorm in recent days, pitting Mexico’s two major political parties against one another. But while PAN and PRI leaders slug it out in the local press and prosecutors take preliminary steps to bring criminal charges against some involved in last week’s near riot, another negative consequence is being felt by those who do business there. The project has virtually shut down vehicular traffic in the area, and some businesses have already closed their doors after experiencing a dramatic decline in sales.
The Campay and Chili Moon restaurants both terminated local operations this week. Campay, which specializes in sushi dishes, made a quick move to Progreso, where it hopes to capture a bit of the remaining summer tourist trade. It’s unclear if or when either business will reopen in the Glorieta circle area.
Merida’s major Spanish language daily, Diario de la Yucatan, reports in today’s edition (July 13) that several carry-out establishments and restaurants featuring delivered food like Go Green are also suffering from reduced sales. The paper earlier reported decreased trade at the nearby Café Italiano and Mi Viejo Molino eateries, and the Gran Chapur Norte department store. The Café and Gran Chapur are both located on Circuito Colonias, a block east of the construction zone.
Restaurant closings affect not only the owners, but employees and wholesale purveyors of foods and supplies as well. The adverse effects can quickly ripple through a local economy, causing disruptions of income for many. According to the Diario, some local landlords are also complaining that they’re not receiving timely rent payments from their commercial tenants.
Merida’s Ayuntamiento (city government) has promised direct or indirect aid to all those affected, in the form of loans, credits and reimbursement for lost wages and sales. The underpass construction began on July 4, and is scheduled for completion by on or about October 1. Yesterday business owners and others met with a local trade organization, the Camara de Comercio, to discuss possible interim solutions.
“We’re disgusted with the loss of our customers and we’re indignant over what happened at the Glorieta,” said Hansel Vargas Aguilar, a religious article retailer quoted in today’s Diario.
Lic. Edward V. Byrne