A woman has lost her top job on a local council and is facing jail together with her husband and landlord after holding a riotous birthday party for her two teenage kids during COVID-19 lockdown.
Council official Isabel Mercado of the La Paz Municipality based in the western Argentina province of Mendoza was reportedly charged with breaking lockdown rules with her husband Eduardo Cuesta and the owner of the house Norberto Mercado.
Prosecutor Mariana Cahiza has charged the trio for spreading a dangerous and contagious disease which is punishable with between three and 15 years in prison, according to reports.
The birthday celebration was cut short when neighbours informed the police of the party.
The footage shows Mercado wearing a cream top as the guests throw coloured powder and flour over each other.
No one appears to be wearing a face mask or respecting social distancing measures.
Argentine president Alberto Fernandez authorised the country’s provinces to decide how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and parties and crowded gatherings in Mendoza are strictly prohibited.
Following the backlash, city mayor Fernando Ubieta has reportedly accepted Mercado’s resignation from her job as Coordinator of Institutional Relations.
He said: “I am very sorry to have to make this decision, first and foremost because I know the quality of the person that Patricia is and the very important work she was carrying out.” But he said the circumstances that left him no other choice.
Mercado said: “Because of my children’s 18th and 15th birthdays, we decided to follow tradition and throw eggs and flour, which takes no more than an hour, which is what happened.
“I did not know what I was thinking of and I take full responsibility for what happened, I allowed myself to follow the feelings and love of a mother.”
She also apologised “for not respecting the orders”.
The investigation is ongoing.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Argentina has registered 6,278 cases of COVID-19 and 314 related deaths.
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