The decision of the Government of Murcia to limit the occupation of vehicles for people who don't live together to 50% as a measure to stop the transmission of the coronavirus during travel has caused much concern in the agricultural sector, as many of its workers lack a driver's license and travel to farms and warehouses in shared vehicles.
This is the case of José Marín, a day laborer who works all year round in the fields, but who needs a partner and two other workers to commute about ten miles from his home every day.
The general secretary of UPA in Vega Alta, Antonio Moreno, has stated that he does not understand "why the measure applies equally to all sectors, when it has been confirmed that the outbreaks being detected are mostly related to nightlife and social celebrations."
Moreno said that this limitation will take a huge toll on the sector and recalled that "agricultural workers became aware of the situation long ago, since they had to stay in the front line even in the toughest moments of the pandemic, addressing the situation without many COVID-19 cases being reported."
Pascual Hortelano, head for stone fruit at the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Murcia (Fecoam), described the initiative as a "real blow" for the sector. He believes "four people should still be allowed to travel in a car."
For his part, the general director of Proexport, Fernando Gómez, expressed his "trust" in the Councilor for Health regarding the measures adopted to stop the pandemic, but said that the measure "could be very harmful" for the sector if it remains in force until October. He also said that "it seems unnecessary to adopt this measure affecting how the transport of workers is organized by the company, which has protocols in place."