At least two Easter traditions in Mexico will take on a different look and feel this holiday season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chichen Itza Maya will be closed to visitors April 1 to 4 because so many tourists are refusing to wear masks at the site.
“It is regrettable to see how undisciplined things have become,” Lucio Hernandez Gutierrez, acting Tulum police chief, told the Associated Press. “It was truly frustrating to see hundreds of people walking around without face masks.”
Chichen Itza is the most visited archaeological site in the Yucatan and one of its biggest tourist attractions. More than 1.8 million tourists flock to the site each year, with Easter Week traditionally being one of the busiest times.
“It really is embarrassing that we have to get to this point,” Gutierrez said. “We should be conscious of the risks we face.”
This isn’t the first time the federal government has closed the site over similar concerns. Earlier this month, Chichen Itza was shut for the annual spring equinox from March 20 to 22.
Thousands of visitors come to the archaeological site for the observance, known as Kukulkan, when the northwest corner of the Kukulkan pyramid casts a series of shadows that give off the appearance of a serpent descending the staircase.
Chichen Itza was closed most of the spring and summer in 2020, finally reopening in late September. But Gutierrez said unmasked visitors have been an issue, with tourists as the top offenders.
Chichen Itza isn’t the only Easter tradition being altered by the pandemic. For the second consecutive year, the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ will be held without spectators in Mexico City.
The event has drawn crowds of up to two million people in recent years, but federal officials don’t want large gatherings during the ongoing pandemic.
The re-enactment had taken place with crowds every year since 1843, making it a 177-year tradition that ended in 2020 because of safety concerns.
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