GOOD NEWS EDITION
Welcome to the first edition of Beach Area News for 2021!
We suspect that many of our readers who would usually be spending the winter months here on the north Yucatan coast are home “up north,” perhaps shoveling snow and dreaming about the warm sea breezes that they are missing. There are many positive changes taking place in our communities so we thought we would use this year’s first edition of our newsletter to let you know about some of them.
NEW FAST PROGRESO COORDINATOR!
In 2019, the City of Progreso created a “one-stop shop” for foreign residents and visitors to Progreso. It is called FAST Progreso – Foreigners Attention Services Team. The goal of the program is to help expats and foreign visitors get answers to questions about city programs and services.
FAST Progreso has a new coordinator – long-time Progreso resident Sallie Again-hirst. Sallie is a retired public-service worker originally from the state of Missouri in the US. Her background includes working as a dispatcher for local law enforcement and most recently, nursing. Sallie has lived in Progreso for ten years and has been active in many local community projects. In this 2020 photo, Sallie received recognition for her community service from Progreso Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi.
Her job at FAST Progreso is to help find answers for the expat and visitor community. Her questions range from the mundane – how to pay local taxes – to the more complicated – “what to do about all the mosquitos?” Whatever the question, she will try to find the answer. As Sallie explained to Beach Area News “I find that if I can stay ahead of whatever problems might arise, then I can post about them on the FAST Progreso Facebook page. So far, that seems to be working.”
Sallie says she loves her new job and is really understanding just how hard many city employees are working to improve the quality of life for all the residents of this port city.
You can contact FAST Progreso by visiting their Facebook page and sending Sallie a Message or through WhatsApp – 999-255-6494.
The Progreso Blue Flag Program
For much of last year, the beaches in Progreso were closed to the public. When they reopened again in November, we noticed a few things. First, they were so clean! Second, new trash receptacles were located on the sand. And finally, a big new sign describing Progreso’s participation in the Blue Flag Program, an international recognition designed to help maintain environmental quality at beaches around the world, while also encouraging sustainable tourism. There are 66 beaches around Mexico that are participating in the Blue Flag Program, but Progreso is the only Blue Flag site in the State of Yucatan. To be added to the program and maintain certification, sites need to adhere to a long list of criteria. You can learn more about the Blue Flag Program here: https://www.blueflag.global/our-programme
And here are some photos of how great the beach in Progreso looks now!
Geology Museum in Progreso
A massive construction project is happening on the Malecon at the former site of the Parque de la Paz. The Geology Museum is a federal project that, according to Progreso Hoy, will have “exhibition areas and various rooms, with green areas and open-air public spaces for the enjoyment of the inhabitants and visitors, and it will be a space where several of the activities that they got used to it in the malecón park.” The museum will be a space “where the history of our port and our people will be told,” Progreso Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi told Progreso Hoy back in July.
Recycling is Here At Last!
Finally, residents in Progreso, Chelem and Chuburna can participate in recycling! In November of last year, the City of Progreso opened up its first recycling facility at the Casa de Cultura in Progreso on the corner of Calle 25 and Calle 80. Open 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday, and 9 am – 2 pm on Saturday, the facility accepts glass, aluminum, cardboard and PET plastic (essentially, plastic drink bottles).
A second site, with a bit easier parking access, also opened in Yucalpeten, near the Fiscalia near the corner of Calle 29 and 37.
Residents of Chelem and Chuburna can recycle at the newly opened recycling center located at the site of the former dump.
The community of Chicxulub will receive a recycle drop-off location soon.
For as far back as anyone can remember, the baseball and soccer field in Chelem was nothing but dust and dirt. If you fell down fielding the ball, you ended up with plenty of scars. If you dared to slide into a base, it could mean stitches.
That is about to end. The government is building a state of the art sports field for soccer and baseball in place of the old dirt lot, complete with professional grade Astroturf, professional lighting, viewing stands, and plenty of restrooms for all so they can enjoy the whole game. This is an outstanding development for children, parents and all to enjoy a night out with the family.
A similar, somewhat smaller facility is also being built in Chuburna. What a great step forward for these two communities!
New travel restrictions announced by both the US and Canada mean that (as of February 2, 2021) proof of a negative Covid-19 test is required to return to either country. The good news is that there are many Covid-19 testing sites available throughout Progreso and Merida. It is important that anyone attempting to return to the US or Canada verify the type of test required (PCR or antigen) by both the country AND the specific airline that you will be flying. There is a list of approved Covid-19 testing sites on the Beach Area News website here (this link will download a PDF):
In addition, Merida International Airport also has a rapid Covid-19 testing site available. This site will perform the antigen test that is acceptable for entrance to the USA, deliver the results and provide a certificate in a maximum of 30-minutes; cost is about MX$700. Note that you must present an airline ticket to use this service.
IMPORTANT: regardless of where you receive your test, be sure it includes the date and time of the test, and your name as it appears on your passport.
The State of Yucatan continues to do what it can to prevent the State from returning to a “red” condition, which is extreme lock-down. Carnaval has been cancelled this year and the Progreso Malecon beaches will be closed for two weeks beginning February 4. We have noted stepped up enforcement to prevent large parties from taking place in the beach area. There is no definitive word about a vaccine for Yucatan – only that vaccinations may be available in about three months. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone here in the beach communities to enjoy our fabulous winter weather from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Take care and stay healthy! From your friends at Beach Area News:
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch