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Mexico City begins reopening amid high coronavirus case load

Mexico City began allowing more businesses to reopen Monday, after almost three months of various types of lockdowns.

Some city subway stations that had been closed to reduce ridership reopened. The city’s metro system plans to distribute 1 million plastic face shields to passengers to lower the risk of infection on mass transportation.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Monday that officials estimate the gradual reopenings this week could put another 1 million to 1.5 million people on the streets of the capital. The capital’s historic center is scheduled to reopen Tuesday, followed by restaurants and hotels Wednesday, but with half their normal capacity.

A woman wearing a mask to curb the spread of the new coronavirus prays inside a church in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

On a four-color alert level, in which red is the worst and green the best, Mexico City downgraded the city’s alert to “orange” even though it has the country’s largest numbers of infections and deaths.

Leon Armando Medina Quezada, a young man from La Marquesa, just west of Mexico City, went to shop Monday in the capital’s downtown district. He was worried the reopening may be too much, too soon.

“You can see a lot of activity. The truth is, it’s a lot of movement and that is going to get the stoplight turned back to red, because of the pandemic," Medina Quezada said. “There are a lot of people on the subway, it's very full.”

Huichol indigenous men observe religious images for sale outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

Sheinbaum said officials are monitoring hospital capacity closely in case it becomes necessary to tighten the restrictions again. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

The highest concentrations of new infections are clustered in more rural neighborhoods on the city’s south side (Xochimilco, Milpa Alta, and part of Tlalpan). There are about 2,800 people hospitalized in the city with COVID-19.

On the national level, the number of confirmed cases in Mexico rose by 3,805 to 220,657, while confirmed deaths rose by 473 to 27,121.

A man carries mannequins in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus walk out of a subway station in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

A deacon sprinkles holy water over parishioners at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

City workers hose down the capital's main square the Zocalo in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is moving this week to the next stage of its gradual reopening from its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (AP PhotoEduardo Verdugo)

Bank customers stand at a distance, as a measure to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus, as they line up outside a bank in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. Mexico City is expected to move to the next stage of its gradual reopening this week. (AP PhotoFernando Llano)

A taco restaurant worker cleans the windows prior to opening for delivery service only, a measure to limit the spread of the new coronavirus in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2020. The capital city is expected to move to the next stage of its gradual reopening, allowing restaurants to reopen to the public later this week. (AP PhotoFernando Llano)