Mexico is still far away from imposing stringent social distancing measures, yet COVID-19 Pandemic has already destroyed more than 350,000 jobs in the country, with the tourism sector being the hardest hit.
Most of the job losses were reported by resort towns, such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and the coastal state of Quintana Roo, which lost almost 64,000 jobs.
Large businesses are laying off hundreds of employees, but companies with less than 50 workers are “still holding up the economy,” reported Associated Press, citing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
AMLO, who had promised to create 2 million jobs between May and December this year, appears to have been angered by the job losses due to COVID-19. The Labour Department has criticized the firms that have axed employees, saying the businesses should have shown solidarity with their employees rather than firing them.
“We are calling on these companies to reconsider, and recognize that the key thing at this moment is to show solidarity with workers,” said Labor Secretary Luisa Maria Alcalde.
The department has even gone to the extent of calling the layoffs illegal, saying there is no “legal basis” for firing when the country is experiencing a health emergency.
The President has also urged businesses to support employees and not to lay off any more staff.
Mexico has reported barely 3,000 coronavirus cases, but the number of infections could go up sharply if more people are tested, say health experts. As of April 12, only 16,700 tests were conducted.