To Feed His Family, Mexico City Man Keeps Working : Shots - Health News MEXICO CITY — Alan David, a drink and magazine stand attendant, is hard at work near the Templo Mayor Museum in the city's historic center. The lanky 22-year-old with a shaved head and deep voice shouts out "three for 10 ...water, sodas, juices, ...
NPR logo To Feed His Family, Mexico City Man Keeps Working

To Feed His Family, Mexico City Man Keeps Working

Alan David must keep working at his Mexico City newsstand. Carrie Kahn/NPR hide caption

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Carrie Kahn/NPR

MEXICO CITY -- Alan David, a drink and magazine stand attendant, is hard at work near the Templo Mayor Museum in the city's historic center. The lanky 22-year-old with a shaved head and deep voice shouts out "three for 10 ...water, sodas, juices, your choice" over and over, but not many are responding to his call today. The area is typically swamped by locals and tourists, but today hardly anyone is here -- except of course, those who can't afford to stay home, like David.

"How am I going to eat?" asks David, "I can't stay home, I have to work to feed my family." When asked if he wishes he could stay home, David can't even dream of such a luxury, "I eat what I work" he says.

The Mexican government has launched a campaign asking people to stay home, wash their hands, wear face masks and refrain from greeting people with a kiss or a hand shake, a social ritual ingrained in Mexicans' DNA.

It shut down all but essential services, including most government offices around Zocalo and private business. And, all public events have been canceled here to avoid high concentrations of people. (Related story: "Mexican Soccer Teams Play To Empty Stadiums.")

David says sales have dropped between 60 and 80 percent since last week, when the world learned about the influenza virus in his country. He says he keeps up with the news and is aware of the outbreak. He isn't wearing a mask though. "It gets in the way at work, but I put it on during my commute" he says, "I take a bus and the metro to and from work and my biggest concern is bringing something home to my 2-year-old daughter and my wife." They are staying home.