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Key tourist state in Mexico easing some COVID-19 restrictions

Laurie Baratti

Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo, part of the Yucatan peninsula that borders the Caribbean Sea and home to popular tourism destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the Riviera Maya, has begun easing some of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Regional reopening plans rely on the Mexican Ministry of Health’s four-tier Traffic Light Monitoring System, in which each state is assigned one of four colors — Green, Yellow, Orange or Red —  to represent its present epidemiological status, based on hospital occupancy rates and new infection rates.

Resort hotels line the beach in Cancun, Mexico. Easing state restrictions on COVID-19 protocols now allow hotels up to 60% capacity.

Quintana Roo’s status has just been downgraded from Orange to Yellow, due to the state’s falling number of COVID-19 infections, with the update that went into effect March 1. This means the loosening of certain restrictions and the expanded reactivation of various activities and attractions in the area.

Public parks and beaches will be able to operate at 60% capacity, having been previously limited to 30%. Hotels, restaurants, theme parks, museums, historic sites, tour-guide services, shopping centers, boutiques, theaters and cinemas will all be able to open at 60% of their total capacity.

Golf courses will be permitted to operate at 100% capacity; tourist marinas and nautical activities can operate at 70 percent in open spaces and 60% in closed spaces; water parks and spas will also bump up to a 60% capacity allowance; and gyms and sport clubs may operate at 50% capacity indoors and 70% capacity outdoors. 

While in Mexico, visitors must observe all federal and local health measures, including wearing a mask while in public places — including on beaches, and in hotels, shops and restaurants.

The bilateral ban on nonessential travel across U.S.-Mexico land borders remains in effect, but U.S. travelers are still allowed to fly into Mexico, which does not require inbound passengers to provide a negative PCR test for entry or to quarantine upon arrival. Travelers need only complete a health declaration form, which generates a QR code to be scanned upon arrival.

To re-enter the U.S., travelers to Mexico should bear in mind that they will need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result from a sample taken no more than 72 hours prior to their departure.

However, numerous resorts throughout Mexico are offering onsite testing to guests in order to make the entire process easier.