Entry Requirements Now Mirror Pre-Covid Era
The Government of Mexico has made the decision to remove all entry requirements relating to the COVID pandemic. The move means a complete return to pre-COVID regulations for those traveling to Cancun.
The one remaining requirement was in the form of a health questionnaire, nicknamed the Vuela Seguro, which passengers filled out prior to entering the country. The form sought to find general medical information about the passenger, in the hope of weeding out any potentially infected travelers.
Information on the questionnaire included recent exposures, vaccination status, and whether passengers were displaying any of the symptoms.
Experts in the country had been in talks to remove the questionnaire for weeks, citing a lack of evidence-based proof that it prevented any potential infections. Airport officials had also been calling for its removal as the form caused a number of delays during what was an incredibly busy time for the country’s travel infrastructure.
The removal of the form is likely to have a profound effect on travelers who have been flocking to Cancun for the past few months. Mexico’s lax rules surrounding the pandemic have made it a globally sought destination, and a questionnaire was a worthy sacrifice compared to the complex restrictions in place in other hotspots.
The move does mirror other countries’ recent choices, however. The UK recently removed the bulk of their testing regulations for international travelers, agreeing across the board that despite their best intentions, the regulations were not preventing COVID spread. Such actions suggest at least a small breaking point, where a decision is being made to live with the virus and push harder for full vaccination across the general population. In short, a return to some semblance of normal.
Cancun is already in the middle of its worst outbreak in over a year. The holiday period proved to be an inevitable super-spreader event, piling pressure upon hospitals, and decimating staff numbers in restaurants, hotels, and airlines. The form did little to prevent the outbreak and was dropped on the 1st of the year to help the masses of passengers flow in and out of the airport.
Now, with the infection rate skyrocketing, Cancun and the greater Quintana Roo region have seen their epidemiological traffic light designation lowered back to the yellow zone. The city had enjoyed several months in the green zone, where all businesses could run at full capacity.
Under a yellow designation, hotels and restaurants have had their capacity drastically lowered, while bars and cantinas have been forced to close. Working hours also end earlier, and with many staff members unable to work after testing positive, the tourist sector is losing a lot of money.
It can only be hoped that the restrictions have a significant impact on the infection rate and a green level can be reinstated. With millions of tourists anticipated for 2022, and thousands more potentially being poached from the cruise market, the timing couldn’t be worse.
The Mexican President has stated that he will not implement any laws that mandate vaccinations or tests to enter a public place (except for large events), but he didn’t rule out the possibility of individual establishments setting their own standards for entry.
The effects of such a change could be damaging to Cancun’s numbers, and it’s not likely many hotels will require it in the face of lost profit. But at least one resort now requires PCR tests from its guests. In the current situation, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see several more in the hope of attracting some safety-conscious tourists.
Travelers entering Mexico are implored to check on any restriction changes, as they are liable to shift at any moment.
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