On the Ground in Oaxaca: Maria Crespo COVID-19 Report

Maria Crespo owns El Diablo y La Sandia B&B. I’ve known her for years. Maria is at the epicenter of Oaxaca tourism, which accounts for 30% of the commerce sector of the economy. Always top-rated on Trip Advisor, EDLS has gone from 100% full to empty. She lives in Oaxaca with her partner Sten Maldonado, marketing director for Los Danzantes mezcal brands and their two-year-old son.

I asked her these questions:

How you and your family are doing?

Are you going out at all?

What is your experience overall?

What are you observing?

What are people telling you about corona virus?

What is worrying you most?

This is Maria’s answer:

Hi Norma

We are going through a really hard period economically.  Fortunately, there’s not many ill people, but we are staying in. I had 100% cancellations, and I sent my staff on paid vacation. Then, they will come a few days in April to get ready for the return of the guests, with a lower salary than normal but paid for all of their days, even if they don’t come.   

I feel like if we all cooperate and stay home for a few days we might be able to overcome this crisis in a shorter period of time and without so many ill people, as other countries.  So far, there are only a few cases in Oaxaca and it’s been like that for a few days, so hopefully it will stay that way.    The police are going around making sure there are no people wandering around in the streets.

The thing that worries me the most, and for most of the people I know here in Oaxaca, is the impact on the economy. My legs are shaking in expectance of the cost of this crisis.  For me as a business owner, the cost to keep this business alive will be outstanding. Thank god I have some savings I can use.  But we are not as lucky with the recently opened Sur a Norte that has no savings… we don’t know how to make it work…   and I worry about all of my staff who will have to make the most out of their lower salary. So overall, I am not sleeping well with anxiety and fear about the economic impact of this world crisis.

Mom and Dad are in their house in Guadalajara in complete isolation.  Their economy will also be greatly impacted because their income depends on rent from my grandmother’s house in Mexico City, which is now a restaurant. But the restaurant is going to have to close down.  So no income for my parents from now and until who knows when. Also the maintenance of the property is of around 100 thousand pesos a month. With no income, that means a very large expense.

The fear about the virus itself is not as bad down here, but, in my point of view people aren’t taking it as seriously as they should because they’re still out and about….  I think that could be our weakness, to not stay together and cooperate.

I am very happy to give you my input for your blog.


Back to Norma:

First, big thanks to Maria for sharing her very personal experience.

I am reminded about the 2006 political crisis in Oaxaca, when everything shut down, tourism came to a screeching halt, and there was economic suffering that lasted for many years. Recovery didn’t fully happen until 2010. Since this is a worldwide pandemic, this story is magnified in every nook and cranny of our world. Maria’s personal experience brings her fear and concern closer to home.

Mexico News Daily reports the Pan American Health Organization fears there will be 700,00 potentially lethal COVID-19 cases in Mexico.

What is Mexico’s president doing? Don’t stop going out, says AMLO. He’s sounding more and more like the Trumpster.

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