Panic??? Mexico City closes 35,000 restaurants until 5/5/09

Steve Paterson alerted FOHBOH on the threat of the Swine Flu to our industry. His warnings are coming true!
The actions yesterday by Mexico City government is a scary response!

Mexico City closes 35,000 restaurants until 5/5/09

Mexico City Orders Restaurants Closed on Flu Concern
By Carlos Manuel Rodriguez 4/28/09

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico City’s government will order all 35,000 restaurants in the capital to close their dine-in service today through May 5 in a bid to contain a flu outbreak.
Restaurants may continue to sell food for take-out and delivery, said Angelica Patino, a city government spokeswoman.
“This is going to affect us significantly,” said Eduardo Ramirez, who oversees franchises at Taco Inn, a fast-food chain. “We are considering the complete closure of the restaurants -- take-out sales may not be enough to be worth opening.”
The restaurant plan is part of efforts by Mexico’s government to discourage public gatherings that may further spread a flu virus suspected in more than 150 deaths. The city is also ordering movie theaters, convention centers and gyms to shut down, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said.
Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, the owner of Vips and Porton restaurants closed the dine-in operations of its 118 units in Mexico City, said spokesman Antonio Ocaranza. Walmex, as the retailer is known, is not considering any other partial closings outside Mexico City, Ocaranza said. The non-restaurant operations “are running normally,” he said.
Revenue from Walmex’s restaurant units represented 2.4 percent of 2008 sales.
Five restaurants at the Reforma 222 shopping center had closed completely as of 2 p.m. and four were offering take-out service, while the remaining 14 were operating as usual, including the food court area. A representative of the mall couldn’t be reached for comment.
Calls to representatives of McDonald’s Corp.; Controladora Comercial Mexicana SA, the owner of California cafeterias; Grupo Carso’s Sanborns and Alsea SAB, which operates Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks franchises, weren’t immediately returned.
To contact the reporter on this story: Carlos M. Rodriguez in Mexico City at

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Tags: Flu, Swine, closings, government, health, jobs, pandemic, panic, restaurants, threat


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Comment by Paul Paz on May 1, 2009 at 11:11pm
Anti-flu measures cut Mexico eatery income up to 70% 2009-05-01

Special Report: World Tackles Influenza A/H1N1  
MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Mexican eateries stand to lose up to 70 percent of their income because of measures taken to fight the spread of deadly new strain A/H1N1 flu, the Mexican Restaurateurs Association (AMR) told Xinhua on Thursday.
"The industry's situation has definitely been affected," AMR director general Silvia Guzman told Xinhua by telephone. "It will increase unemployment as restaurants will have to cut costs in order to recover."
At the start of the week, Mexico City authorities said that restaurants could only sell take-away food, as part of a broader package to fight the flu.
Bars, dancehalls, swimming polls, gymnasiums and public parks were among the places ordered closed, in a bid to halt contagion.
"Because of the financial crisis, our industry was already being hurt. With this situation that will increase," she said.
On Tuesday, a financial analyst at investment bank UBS said that 10 days of measures against the flu -- which causes high fever, headaches, muscular pain and breathing difficulties -- would shave 0.2 points off Mexico's already shrinking GDP. After this extra decline, the UBS sees the nation's economy contracting 4.3 percent this year.
"We are negotiating with the city government seeking help for waiters," said Guzman. As waiters are usually paid on a day-to-day basis, rather than on a half-monthly basis like most Mexico residents, they feel the loss of income far more quickly than most workers.
The closure due to flu is battering income during a period of national holidays, when it would normally be on the rise, she added.
"It's hitting some of the best days of the year," she said. May1, Friday, and May 5, Tuesday, are both national holidays, as they come both sides of a weekend, Mexicans tend to turn these into a four- or five-day holiday during which they spend money, celebrate and go out, nicknamed a "puente," or bridge.
"The puente is a time when people normally eat out, (so) the flu restrictions are a very limiting factor," Guzman said. Restaurants' losses may be supermarkets' gain, she added, as Mexico City residents buy ingredients rather than finished meals.

Comment by Paul Paz on May 1, 2009 at 2:36pm
In the small Oregon town of Monmoth the local college has shut down until next week because of a suspected Swine Flu case. As a result, numerous hotel reservations were cancelled for several major events in town that were all tied to the college. This will have an immediate drawdown on the local economy. That add to the problems of our state that already has the second highest umemployment (12.1%) in the USA.
Comment by Steve Paterson on April 30, 2009 at 8:59pm
Unfortunately it's not just Mexico City.





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