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August 23, 2020, 04.16 PM

MEXICO CITY, - After five months under coronavirus lockdowns, Mexico’s floating gardens of Xochimilco have reopened to visitors on Friday.

The canals that run through man-made islands created by the Aztecs on the southern side of Mexico City provide popular day trips for tourists.

Flat-bottom boats plying the water and mariachis playing music are part of the entire Xochimilco experience.

Seeking to reassure people, the borough government cleaned and disinfected the flower-decked boats and docks, and enforced special hygiene rules, but there were few tourists or revelers for the reopening.

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That contrasts with the crowds in a good year, like 2015, when about 2 million people visited the floating gardens.

The tourism industry in Mexico accounts for 8.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product, and has been left gasping by the pandemic as both domestic and foreign tourists stay home.

Mexico City, which has nearly 90,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 10,000 deaths, is still on the second-highest form of alert.

Tourism has long been particularly important for Xochimilco, where borough officials have long struggled to defend the islands, known as chinampas, from encroaching development.

Read also: Indonesia Sails Ahead to Restore Tourism Sectors Pre-Covid-19 Glory

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