Quintana Roo Continues To Have No Restrictions On Functional Capacity
Cancun is to stay in the safe green zone on Mexico’s epidemiological traffic light for at least one more week. The news was announced at 8 PM on Thursday evening by Governor Carlos Joaquin.
The state was not expected to be lowered to the yellow level, but the news will be welcomed all the same by tourists and the industry alike. The state has spent the last two weeks enjoying a restriction-free period after several weeks of stricter regulations but now, all businesses can function at 100% occupational capacity.
The Governor, speaking in his weekly message, stated that the extension of the green zone is wonderful news, but mentioned the possible threat of an increase citing statistics in Bacalar that suggests they have had a small but sudden increase. He spoke of the arrival of many thousands of people from across the world converging on Cancun, which is how the last major wave of Omicron started in the city.
The winter holiday period was massively successful in terms of arrivals for Cancun. But with the millions of new visitors came thousands of Omicron cases. The virus quickly spread in the wake of the tourists’ departures and hotels, restaurants, and bars found their staff decimated by positive tests. These massive spreads prompted a return to the yellow zone, and eventually orange. With those zones came heavier restrictions and closures in some cases.
Although many of the hotels were given special dispensation to take in more tourists than the 50% that was temporally allowed, the situation still represented a significant loss for many businesses. Clubs and bars were forced to close, although many simply began serving food, making them “restaurants” under the circumstances and able to stay open.
Several bars and restaurants were fined after staying open past the designated time and even threatened with the loss of their liquor license. One bar in Playa del Carmen was found to be breaking the rules just days before the region went back to green.
A continued green status is desperately needed as the Easter holidays approach. The city is currently enjoying a small influx of spring breakers, but the culmination of this period is the week of Easter itself. Playa del Carmen is already expecting almost 100% occupancy for its hotels, while Cancun isn’t far behind. Allowing guests as much freedom as possible is crucial for the establishments to hopefully breed some loyalty and have them return in the next season.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has thrown some kinks into the machinery this week in regards to tourist numbers. It’s thought that European visitors will drop, and the rising gas prices mean that flights from the US will also be more expensive. With that said, the Governor also expressed his belief that it may actually increase tourist numbers to the region, although his statements were met with disdain on social media for being inconsiderate of the Ukrainian’s plight.
The main concern going into Easter is that the large influx may cause another spike in the COVID numbers. Although rates are dropping across the world, there are still pockets of high infection rates, and cities like Cancun can be dealt the brunt of it.
With that said, it is unlikely the governor will lower the level again. His message has remained the same since the first week in green: Move forward with the economy, it’s time to live with COVID.
Tourists hoping to visit Cancun in the near future should continue to monitor the COVID restrictions in their own country as well as Mexico to avoid any disappointment, Although Mexico still has no restrictions, many countries may have reentry rules that could cost money.
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