24 March 2020 Newsletter–Coronavirus Update

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – MARCH 24, 2020

OUR COVID-19 PAGE:  http://beachareanews.com/?page_id=422

We hope this Newsletter finds you well, staying safely in your home, and managing your life through this current “new normal”. This issue of Beach Area News will provide updated information to the expat community who are living here to help them stay informed during the coming weeks. All information we provide has come directly from local or state government sources, or individuals who have translated information from these sources. In between issues of this Newsletter, we will post new information on our Website.

On the evening of March 23, Julian Zazarias Curi, the Mayor of Progreso, gave a long speech on Facebook about the current situation. We hope to post a full translation of his speech on our website soon, but here are the important messages for the community, both expats and locals:

  • The next two weeks will be critical to slowing the spread of the virus here in our communities. There are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 in Progreso or the surrounding beach communities, but the Mayor is certain that there will be soon. Everyone is urged to stay home as much as possible. The beaches are closed, schools are closed, bars and discos are closed. Many restaurants are now also closed, and those that are open must close at 10 pm.
  • The City has been working to sanitize as many public spaces as possible – the banks, the mercados, the buses, and the combis.
  •  He reminded everyone that the city itself is not closed – people from Merida work here and people from Progreso work in Merida, so there will be traffic back and forth. They are discouraging people from coming here to vacation. He did not explicitly address the issue of Semana Santa except to say that there will be many Semana Santas in the future. We suspect that this issue will be addressed as we get closer to the official two-week holiday (April 4 thru April 19), based on what is happening here in the community.
  • He encouraged the business community to take care of their workers during this incredibly difficult time. He also is waiting for additional resources from the federal government that will pass through the state to the city to help displaced workers and their families.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, there is a state-wide number to call 800-YUCATAN  (800-982-2826) to be screened for testing. Help is available in English – just press 9 when you start hearing the Spanish recording. The first operator you get may not be English-speaking  – if that is the case, please just say “ayuda en ingles, por favor”. Do not go to your local doctor or hospital if you think you have symptoms!  The state will send someone to your house if testing is warranted.

There are daily updates from the Yucatan State Department of Health that are translated every morning from Stephanie Carmon on her Mid City Beat Facebook page.  Her updates include information on the current number of cases in the state (19 confirmed cases as of March 23, all of them mild and under control) as well as other good information.  We suggest you check her Facebook page regularly.

More links to credible information from the state and federal government are located on the Coronavirus section of our website. We are also going to be adding information on bilingual medical personnel who are available for questions about the virus or other health issues, as well as information on how the expat community can help our local neighbors through donations of food, cash or other services. Now, more than ever, we will need to give back to the local community that provides us with such a wonderful place to call home.

That’s it for now – stay safe, stay home, and be kind to your friends and neighbors – we are all in this together!

The Beach Area News Team – Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch and David Nevers

15 March 2020 Newsletter

This edition of Beach Area News will focus first on what is on everyone’s mind, which is the coronavirus. We will then provide a brief security update and feature some photos from a Town Hall meeting with the Mayor and the City of Progreso to recognize the many contributions made by foreign residents and visitors.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
Information current as of March 15, 2020

There are now 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mexico (Secretary of Health, 7PM March 14). Credible sources estimate that community contamination (meaning the virus is being spread by the local population, not by outside sources) will ramp up over the next couple of weeks.
https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english/mexicos-covid-19-contingency-plan-three-key-phases-fight-coronavirus-outbreak

Many of our snowbird visitors from Canada and the US are making plans to go home, either on schedule or a bit early. We encourage those readers to visit the websites of your governments to get the most up-to-date information regarding travel back to the US or Canada. We have provided links to those website below.

For our readers who will be staying here in Mexico through April or who live here full-time, this edition of Beach Area News will provide you with links to credible sources of information that you can rely on to stay informed.  There is a lot of misinformation and confusing instructions out on the Internet and social media right now!  That is why the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that individuals avoid surfing all over the Internet looking for the latest information.  Locate a few trusted sources and focus on the information posted there.

For the next 30-60 days, cruise ships will no longer be coming into Progreso, and currently many public events are being cancelled in both Progreso and Mérida.  Since the Beach Area News Team is currently limiting our time in public spaces, we were able to invest some time over the weekend finding credible sources of information for those of us who will be here in the Yucatan for the next two months.

The first pages that everyone should visit are these:

(ADDED 18 March:  Yucatan government official information http://coronavirus.yucatan.gob.mx

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html 
(For those heading back to the USA, after reading the page, scroll down and click Travelers.)
or
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
(Canadians who are headed home soon should click the Travel Advice link on that page.)

===

SPECIFIC TO MEXICO AND YUCATAN

Beach Area News is communicating regularly with our contacts in the Progreso city and Yucatan state governments.  Both entities are working to provide information in English and as soon as these are available, we will send an update to our readers. We have created a page on our own Website HERE; which will be filled with new material as we find it, so check it starting Monday!

The Mexican government and the US Embassy in Mexico City are advising anyone needing information or medical attention to call the Mexico Secretary of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 800 0044 800. English language operators are sometimes, but not always, available.

Meanwhile, we have been sent Internet and Facebook sites from our federal, state and local government contacts that you can use to stay informed about this situation. Facebook has a feature which allows you to translate posts from Spanish into English at the end of each post; just click See Translation.

–The Yucatan Health Department is putting out fresh information on their Facebook page:

–The Governor of Yucatan Mauricio Vila also posts information directly from his office:

The US Embassy in Mexico City has current country-specific information on its Website:
https://mx.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

–The US State Department‘s information page is HERE:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html 
This includes links to the latest information on entry restrictions into the USA from foreign countries.

–If you’re a Twitter user, the Mexico Secretaria de Salud (health department) puts out their latest information in Spanish at @SSalud_MX

And we found the website of the Americas Society Council of the Americas to be very helpful in directing us to credible government sources and distilling the most current information about Mexico into a digestible size.  (Scroll down to Mexico if necessary.)
https://www.as-coa.org/articles/where-coronavirus-latin-america#mexico


SECURITY UPDATE

There continue to be break-ins along the beach area of Chelem and Chuburna. At a recent Town Hall meeting with the Mayor, he was made aware of this situation and the Comandante of the Municipal Police Emilio Caamal indicated that two new beach patrol motorized quad units will be added in the coming days.

With the cancellation of cruise ships, many local businesses and the people they employ will lose a major source of revenue. We want to remind our readers to continue to be vigilant regarding their personal security as well as their homes. We cannot emphasize enough that prevention of a crime is far better than dealing with one after the fact. Visit our website at beachareanews.com to read the many crime prevention measures we have posted on our site. Be sure to download our Security Leaflet from the home page!


PROGRESO MAYOR HONORS LOCAL RESIDENTS 

Progreso Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi held a Town Hall meeting on March 11 to solicit questions from the expat community on how the City could improve its services to us. Issues that were raised to the Mayor included:

  • Need for improved security in Chelem and Chuburna
  • Uneven enforcement of rules to prevent unauthorized dumping of garbage
  • The importance of continuing City involvement in spaying and neutering of dogs and cats
  • The need for more bicycle parking in Centro

To address these issues, the Mayor announced the following new initiatives:

  • a Neighborhood Watch / resident association program that will be coordinated by City Department Directors
  • new laws that give the city increased ability to seize private property if the owner is creating a public nuisance (such as letting garbage pile up)
  • the purchase of a mobile veterinary services vehicle that is able to travel to the outlying areas of Progreso to perform spay and neuter services
  • new bike racks are being installed over the next few weeks

Tourism and Economic Development Director Manuel Rosado announced the upcoming addition of a native English-speaking staff person to the Foreigners Assistance Services Team (FAST Progreso). This person will enhance the ability of the City to provide more information about its services and activities in English.

The Mayor made it very clear that the City of Progreso appreciates all of the ways that expat residents and visitors contribute to the local economy and the well-being of the community. A number of individuals were recognized for their efforts in organizing formal assistance programs; see the photo below and more on our Website.  The Mayor also recognized our very own Bob Rentz–currently somewhere on the oceans of the Far East–for his efforts on helping to organize the roll-out of the new trash collection system.

And finally, the Mayor acknowledged the Beach Area News team for our service to the community!


THANKS FOR READING!

On behalf of all of as the Beach Area News Team, stay safe, stay informed, and wash your hands often!  For those of you heading home, Buen Viaje and see you next season!

The Beach Area News Team: Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch and David Nevers

11 March 2020 Mayor’s Town Hall Photos

Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi addresses the crowd of about sixty expats.

 

 

The Mayor answered questions and addressed concerns from members of the audience.

 

 

Several representatives of local hardworking community organizations received recognition from the Mayor.

 

CERTIFICATES AND GIFTS WERE GIVEN TO:

Sally Again-Hirst
Organizer of Expat float in the 2019 Progreso Carnaval celebration

 

 

 

Richard Long
for his long-time contributions of school supplies to children in our area

 

 

Kim Ray
representing the Chelem Apoyo Program

 

 

 

Karen Cloutier
and Francois Cloutier (not pictured) for their coordination of  the Chicxulub Soup Kitchen

 

 

 

 

Karen Cochrane
representing No Mas Perritos

 

 

 

 

Jody Wilson
representing Sharon Helgason and the Chicxulub Food Bank

 

 

 

 

Dorothy Kaytor
representing the Chuburna Apoyo Program

 

 

 

David Wright
for offering marketing classes for area small businesses

 

 

 

 

Speranza Avram
representing the Progreso Apoyo Program

 

 

 

The mayor also acknowledged Bob Rentz for his long-term work on improving garbage collection, as well as the entire Beach Area News team for our newsletter and Website.

7 February 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue:

US Voter Assistance Workshop Tuesday February 11
Security Update
Who Reads Beach Area News?

US Voter Assistance Workshop

All US citizens are invited to a Voter Assistance Workshop hosted by the US Consulate General Merida. This town hall meeting will be held Tuesday, February 11 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the Teatro Daniel Ayala, Calle 60 #499 between Calles 59 and 61 in central Mérida.

The agenda includes:

How to vote from abroad
General voting information
Question & Answer period

NO RSVP is needed!
For more information Email AskMeridaACS@state.gov or call 999-316-7168 (from a Mexico phone) or (844) 528-6611 (from a US phone).

Security Update
This information is current as of Feb. 7, 2020

Since our January 20 newsletter, there has been an increase in police patrols throughout the Progreso area. Perhaps because of this, in addition to an increased awareness and security precautions by residents and visitors, we are aware of only one new break-in and no new purse-snatching events in Progreso. There was a report of police officers proactively questioning men loading TV sets into a car in front of a house and arresting them because they were, in fact, stealing them; this is a good example of heightened prevention activity by the police.

However, Beach Area News has received increased reports of break-ins along the beach road area of Chuburna, and we have brought these to the attention of the Comandante of the Municipal Police and Progreso City authorities. We are also hearing very positive reports that people are taking the time to report break-ins or other crimes to the Fiscalia and that the new system of visiting the Municipal Police first to ask for translation assistance appears to be working.

We cannot state enough times that prevention is the best strategy to keep you and your home safe. Make sure there are protectores (bars) on your windows and keep your windows and doors locked at night or when you are in your back yard. Walk with as few valuables as possible. If you see someone suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911. The police would rather prevent a crime then deal with one after the fact. For more information on security, be sure to review our security leaflet, available here on our website.

In the social media posts, there has been a lot of conversation about self-defense–what to do if someone is in your home to rob you or is threatening violence. We have been researching self-defense laws in Mexico, and as with many things here, it’s complicated. The information below is a summary of conversations and emails with several area attorneys and police officials.

Current law in Mexico says: self-defense response must be in proportion to the actual threat you are experiencing at the moment. This means if you use a weapon against someone who has broken into your home but is not threatening you physically and does not have a weapon, and you injure this person, you may be legally liable.

As we have tried to get clarity on what this really means, the only answer we repeatedly get is this: pepper spray (or gel), to deter someone from approaching you, is allowable, both in your home and on the streets, whether someone has a weapon or not. Any other type of weapon used in self-defense in a situation where the “bad guy” does not have a weapon may put you at legal risk.

If the attacker does have a weapon other than a firearm, then you have the right to defend yourself with a similar style of weapon–but not with a gun. If you use a gun–especially without having the appropriate permit to legally own that weapon in Mexico–on someone who is not armed, things could get very complicated for you. We have not heard any reports of robbers using guns in home break-ins around our area.

We are not lawyers, and we are not providing legal advice here. We are sharing the best information we have received in hopes that it will provide some more guidance to visitors and residents in our area. If you wish to get more information about how you can legally defend yourself, we suggest you contact your own attorney in Mexico.

Pepper Spray Sources:

Proveedor Militar (uniform store), Prolongacion Paseo Montejo 109, Buenavista, 97127 Mérida Google map
Amazon.com.mx click here for search
Mercado Libre click here for search

(More sources suggested by residents:)

AutoZone stores

Sports shop upstairs at Gran Plaza



Who Reads Beach Area News?

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Enjoy the rest of the winter!
The Beach Area News Team
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, David Nevers, Dave Bloch

20 January 2020 Newsletter

In this issue:

    • “Death in Yucatan” Consular Town Hall Meeting
    • Security Update as of Monday January 20, 11AM

“Death in Yucatan” Consular Town Hall Meeting

On January 14, 2020, the US and Canadian Consulates hosted a Town Hall Meeting to provide the foreign community the information we need in the case of a foreigner’s death while living or visiting Yucatan. About 150 Canadians and US Citizens squeezed into the back room of Flamingos Restaurant to hear from a panel of experts ranging from Consular staff, a Notary Public, Mexican immigration, a lawyer, the Yucatan State Civil Registry and a local funeral home.

The key takeaway from the meeting is that residents and visitors to Yucatan should plan ahead in the event that a death occurs here.  This means taking the time now to get your documents in order and share key decisions with friends and family both in Yucatan and in your home country. There are far too many details to include in a Newsletter, and this is the type of long-term information better suited to a page of its own on our Website.  So to read all of this information, visit our new Death Preparation and Procedures page.

Here is the contact information for the panelists who were present at the meeting, who are able to provide further information:

You can also read another summary of the meeting written by long-time Progreso snowbird resident Russ Hilderley at https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2020/01/flipflops-and-tank-tops-sockless-in-sandals-and-dying-in-mexico/

Security Update as of Monday January 21

The recent rash of break-ins and purse snatchings that have been taking place in the east side of Progreso appears to have died down over the weekend. There is definitely an increased police presence in the community and perhaps that is discouraging incidents.

We cannot emphasize enough that the best response to this type of situation is an increased focus on prevention — secure your home so that robbers can’t get in, and walk through the streets with as few valuables as possible.

Also be aware that the laws on self-defense are very different here in Mexico than in the US or Canada. Self-defense is only allowed in proportion to the actual threat that is taking place. Unless an individual is causing you bodily harm, the use of a weapon or deadly force against a thief in your home or on the street could result in legal problems for you. We will provide more information about both prevention and self-defense in the next issue of Beach Area News that will be released later this week.

16 January 2020 Newsletter

Progreso Security Update

This information is current at of 3 pm January 16.

Since our last Security Alert on January 9, we have become aware of at least 20 street assaults or home invasions in east Progreso. Today Beach Area News team volunteers Speranza Avram and Karen Cloutier, along with a victim of a street assault and a victim of a home break-in met with Comandante Emilio Caamal who serves as the Progreso Municipal Police Chief. The meeting was organized by Rashid Pedro Martinez, the director of the city’s new FAST program (Foreigners Assistance Services Team) who was also present at the meeting.

We had a very productive meeting and in response to the security concerns we raised, effective immediately, there are new procedures in place for reporting to the Fiscalia, and a WhatsApp number that will connect victims of crime directly to the Municipal Police Department in the event that more information is needed about the location of a crime. We will discuss each of these new procedures below.

1) REPORTING TO FISCALIA – Mexico law is different than the laws in the US and Canada. In order for investigations to proceed, and for suspects to remain behind bars, crime victims must file an official report with the Fiscalía. This is not the same as providing information to the police at the scene of the crime. If the crime victim does not speak Spanish, the law requires that a translator certified by Fiscalia take the report at the office of the Fiscalía.

One of the major barriers to this requirement has been that the translator who works for Fiscalía is not in Progreso, but Merida, so this has meant either a long wait or a return appointment. However, today, Comandante Caamal authorized the use of different reporting procedures for foreign residents and visitors at the beach.

Rather than go to Fiscalia directly, foreigners are directed to go to the Municipal Police station first and tell them you need assistance and translation in filing a report to Fiscalía (the Police station is right next door to Fiscalía). We were told today that the Municipal Police Department has a certified translator on-site 24/7 and this person will accompany you to the Fiscalía to make your report. Even if your Spanish is perfect, it is recommended that you first visit the Municipal Police station and have this translator go with you. This will ensure that the police are aware of your report.

Below is a map showing the location of the Municipal Police Station and a photo of the outside of the building. When you walk in, go up to the front desk, which is behind solid glass. Someone will see you, open the window, and then you say:

  • “I need a translator to help me file a report in Fiscalía.”
  • “Necesito un traductor que me ayude hacer una denuncia a Fiscalía.”

Be patient as the front office staff may not be aware of the new procedure for the next few days. Keep asking them for help in English – ayuda en ingles – and they will find the translator.

We have been told that there is someone on-site 24/7. If this person is not immediately available, it may be that they are assisting someone else. If you are not sure of your Spanish, it is always a good idea to have a bilingual friend or neighbor accompany you. But this person cannot translate for you at Fiscalia – that is why you need the certified translator from the police department.

Based on these new procedures, we request that anyone who has been a victim of a crime over the past few days who has not filed an official report, to please visit the Municipal Police Station as soon as possible. Only through reporting by victims can we ensure that bad guys get caught and stay in jail.

We ask that you please do your part to help keep our community safe. Be prepared for this process to take some time, as much as 2 to 4 hours. (Bring water and snacks!) At the end of this process, the report will be complete. You can and should request a copy of the Fiscalia report as soon as it is completed. There is no charge. The report will be in Spanish. The report will have a Folio Number which is the official record locator for the report.

2) CONTACTING THE POLICE IN THE EVENT OF A CRIME

If you are the victim of a crime, please call 911 first. As we have mentioned before, there should be a English-speaking operator available, but there is no guarantee of that. On the Beach Area News Website, there is a vocabulary you can use to help you report in Spanish if needed. The 911 Security Center in Merida will dispatch police, and from what we have heard, response time here at the beach has been pretty rapid.

However, there are times when the police cannot find an address as described by the victim. If response time feels delayed, foreigners are instructed to send their location via WhatsApp directly to the Municipal Police Department at: 999-359-0369. If you live in a location where there are no street signs, it’s a good idea to pinpoint your home on Google maps ahead of time, so it can be shared with the police in case they cannot find you. (See example at right.)

While this number is monitored by the Municipal Police 24/7, THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY NUMBER!  Reporting a crime should always be done by calling 911. Please only use this number to communicate with the Municipal Police in the event that police response is delayed by more than about 10-15 minutes.

PREVENTION

We know that these past few days have been very stressful for residents and visitors who have always experienced Progreso as a safe and tranquil place. Just a few things to keep in mind as we give the authorities a chance to catch the bad guys.

First, the current “crime wave” is not just targeting foreigners–Mexican residents and businesses are also experiencing crime — if you want to stay informed about that, just read the daily online newspaper, Progreso Hoy (open in Google Chrome and it will translate automatically). There is usually a spike in criminal activity this time of year – but as those of us who have been here a long time can attest, this does feel more intense than previous years.

Second, prevention is always better than dealing with a crime after the fact. Read our security leaflet about ways to keep your home and your person safe. As an extra precaution, women should avoid carrying large purses; even better, just put some cash and a copy of your ID in a pants pocket. Don’t give the bad guys something to grab on to. If you have to walk at night, do so in groups.

Third, if you feel the need to have some self-protection, either for your home or for walking in the street, the best legal solution is a pepper spray or foam that can be sprayed at the bad guy. Be cautious when using spray outdoors, as the wind could blow the stuff back at you.  The self-defense laws in Mexico are not the same as in the US or Canada; we will post an update on these laws in a future edition.

Finally, if neighbors or businesses wish to hire private security guards or patrol neighborhoods at night, this is permitted. But especially residents should not try to engage with criminals if they see a crime in progress. Call 911 and let the police do their job.

We will continue to monitor this situation on Facebook and through emails we receive from our readers. In particular, if you have an experience with reporting to Fiscalia under these new procedures, please let us know how it went – either positive or negative.

We want to provide feedback to the police to let them know how this new process is working. (The report on this week’s meeting with the Consulates will be delayed until later this weekend.)

Thank you – The Beach Area News Team

Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch, and David Nevers

Security Alert: 9 January 2020

The information in this newsletter is current as of 6 PM on Thursday, January 9.

Over the past two days, two separate incidents of assault and attempted robbery from expats by two men riding a full-size motorcycle have been reported. They both occurred in the east side of Progreso in locations frequented by foreigners. The purpose of this Email is to provide information to our Beach Area News readers to make you aware of these situations, provide some tips on how to prevent being a victim of these types of crimes, and suggest what to do if something like this happens to you.

The first incident occurred on Wednesday January 8 and was reported in the Facebook group Yucatan Beach Friends. An expat woman was walking down the street from Crocodiles Restaurant on Calle 27 in the afternoon when a motorcycle came up from behind her and ripped her purse from her shoulder. There were two men on the motorcycle, both wearing full helmets with face plates. They grabbed her bag and sped away. Our understanding is the victim has not yet reported this incident to the police, but we hope that will happen, especially since a second, similar incident occurred the next day.

On Thursday, January 9 at around 10 AM, an expat woman was walking in the street on Calle 60 between Calles 25 and 27. She was carrying a bag over her shoulder on the street side. A full-size motorcycle carrying two men in full helmets with face plates came up behind her and tried to grab her bag, but were thwarted because the woman had a hot cup of coffee in her hand which spilled on the men. They pushed her down on the street and sped away, without her bag. This woman reported the incident to the police.

Because these two crimes appear to have been done by the same two men, targeting women walking and carrying purses, we felt it was important that the community be made aware of the situation through this Email.  We also contacted our state and local government liaisons to make them aware of these two crimes and we requested increased police patrols in this area of Progreso.

Here are some suggestions to guard against this type of crime.  First, try to walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If you have to carry a purse, use a cross-body type of bag, as small as possible that doesn’t dangle on your shoulder. Don’t hold it street-side. Carry as few valuables as possible. Both of these incidents happened during the day, but as a general rule, if you walk at night, be with a buddy, not alone.

If you are the victim of robbery or an attempted robbery, call 9-1-1 right away. The police will come to get more information. But PLEASE take the time to also file a report at the Fiscalía Office in Yucalpetén. Information about how to do that is located on our website; download our Safety Leaflet here.. Only a report filed at the Fiscalía office will be considered as a valid report of a crime; unfortunately, the information gathered by the officers at the scene, as well as reports filed at any other police location, such as the tourism police office on the Malecón, do not count as an official crime report.

We all know that this is the safest area of Mexico, and we also know that crimes of opportunity happen every day, all over the world.  But it is always upsetting when incidents like this happen in our own neighborhood. We encourage everybody to be extra aware of their surroundings during this snowbird season.

2020 Mexico Holidays

For reference, here are the official Mexico holidays for 2020, according to timeanddate.com:

Jan 1 Wednesday  — New Year’s Day
Feb 3 Monday — Day off for Constitution Day
Feb 5 Wednesday — Constitution Day
Mar 16 Monday — Day off for Benito Juárez’s Birthday
Mar 21 Saturday — Benito Juárez’s Birthday
May 1 Friday — Labor Day / May Day
Sep 16 Wednesday — Independence Day
Nov 16 Monday — Day off for Revolution Day
Nov 20 Friday — Revolution Day
Dec 25 Friday — Christmas Day

29 November 2019 Newsletter

ANNOUNCING THE “FOREIGNERS ATTENTION SERVICES TEAM – FAST!”

The City of Progreso is pleased to announce the launch of its new service designed to help foreign residents and visitors living or visiting in Progreso.  The Foreigners Attention Service Team (F.A.S.T) is now available to answer your questions – in English! – about any type of city service: garbage, water, non-emergency police matters, paying your property taxes, city events and more.  They will also offer a referral service to provide information on other types of service providers.  The manager of FAST is Rashid Pedro Martinez. The Beach Area News Team met with Rashid to learn more about him and his vision for FAST.

Rashid was born and raised here in Progreso, although he has had the privilege to travel throughout Mexico.  He has two university degrees, one in Education and another in Ecological Tourism. He was working in Monterrey, Mexico before returning home to Progreso to take on this new assignment.

Rashid sees his job as being a channel of communication for the expat residents and snowbird visitors into city government. Rashid shared that the City of Progreso greatly values the many ways that foreigners contribute to the region, both from an economic development perspective and also in the way we support the various charitable programs that help the less-fortunate residents in the community. He noted that in some ways, such as garbage and caring for street animals, foreign residents care more about improving Progreso than many of the locals who have lived here all of their lives. Rashid speaks excellent English, which he learned by watching English music videos – he loves American rock & roll, hip-hop and rap!

His family has a long tradition of service to the community. His father also works for the City, in the water department, and his mother teaches social sciences in Carlos Marx Middle School, the largest public secundaria in Progreso. His grandfather came to Progreso from Lebanon in the years following World War II.

FAST services are available Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8 pm and Saturday 9 am – 1 pm. You can contact Rashid in the following ways:

Phone or WhatsApp: 999-155-6556

On Facebook: FAST Progreso

Through e-mail: fastprogreso@gmail.com 

That’s it for this edition of the Newsletter, but expect another one in a couple of weeks.  Enjoy the beautiful December weather!

The Beach Area News Team
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch, David Nevers

2019 Snowbirds & Expats Welcome Party!

YOUR INVITATION TO THE SNOWBIRDS AND EXPATS WELCOME PARTY!
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 21 2019 AT 4:00 PM

NOTE LOCATION CHANGE!
Almadía Restaurant, on the Malecon between Calles 62 and 64, Progreso

Join us on November 21 for the Second Annual Expat and Snowbirds Welcome Party, organized by the State of Yucatan International Affairs Office and the City of Progreso.  Meet your old friends, make new ones, enjoy free Yucatan regional food, music and dance, and meet the public officials at work in our area.  Representatives from local nonprofit organizations and other entities will be on hand with information and to answer your questions about their services.

Here is the schedule of activities:

Welcome and comments

Tourism Director of Progreso: Introduction of the new Foreigners’ Service Assistance Window

Music and Dance Performances:

–Regional music by Orquesta Jaranera SSP
–Regional dance of the City of Progreso

Stay after the event for live music provided by local band Stepp On It.


PARTICIPATING OFFICIALS:

State of Yucatán

    • Representatives from the Department of International Affairs or Department of the Governor’s Office
    • Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism

City of Progreso

    • C. Julián Zacarias Curí, Municipal President of Progreso.
    • Lic. Manuel Rosado Heredia, Director of Tourism and Commerce

Representatives from the American and Canadian Consulates of Mérida, Cancún and Playa del Carmen