The government of Quintana Roo — the Mexican state that is home to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum — is sending agents to tourist hotspots to ensure COVID-19 protocols are being followed and enforced.
In particular, the agents will be sent to hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and other areas. Once there, they will check to ensure health protocols including social distancing, temperature checks, mask-wearing, and regular sanitization are being enforced, an article in the Cancun Sun reports.
Mexico uses a color-coded stop light system to monitor COVID-19 cases and determine which activities are safe for citizens on a state-by-state basis. The issue is that Quintana Roo has moved to the orange category, and hovers near red, which would require a state of lockdown.
“Approaching the red traffic light puts us in a delicate situation,” Carlos Joaquín, governor of the state of Quintana Roo, wrote on social media. “We must work together around a common goal. We are facing a very important moment, what we do will be reflected in what will happen in the coming weeks.”
A Balancing Act
There are two factors at play in Quintana Roo. The first is the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to data from The New York Times, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in Quintana Roo is 805. The good news, however, is that the 14-day change in cases is a drop of 7 percent, so new case counts are falling.
Meanwhile, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, as of January 31, 73 percent of Quintana Roo’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The data also shows that 58 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Based on COVID-19 case counts, Quintana Roo is in Mexico’s orange category, which is problematic. Restrictions for states in the orange category mean that bars, nightclubs, breweries, and similar businesses primarily selling alcohol are required to be closed. Meanwhile, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses are required to operate at 50 percent capacity.
This makes for a difficult balancing act as the Mexican state works to keep citizens healthy while also boosting its local economy.
“We do not know how much longer we will have the COVID-19 virus among us, but it is important to resume our lives again and maintain economic development, and for this, we need to advance in the balance between caring for health and recovery activities,” Governor Joaquín said in a statement. “All of our preventive actions, health protocols, and insistence on the use of sanitary habits are focused on protecting us from contagion because we need to continue advancing and growing economic development to recover jobs and improve people’s income.”
If Quintana Roo is able to simultaneously maintain health protocols while keeping businesses open and thriving, the result will be “more tourists, more visitors, and we can continue with the economic recovery for the good of the families of Quintana Roo,” Joaquín continued.
Know Before You Go
If you are planning a trip to Cancun or somewhere else in Quintana Roo, keep in mind that the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico has issued a security alert for Quintana Roo.
“In light of recent security incidents and criminal activity in popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise increased caution when traveling to the state of Quintana Roo,” the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico notes. “Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state, including areas frequented by U.S. citizen visitors.”
The Consulate urges U.S. citizens traveling to Quintana Roo to follow local news for updates on crime, avoid crowds, be aware of surroundings, and review personal security plans. Finally, U.S. citizens visiting Quintana Roo are urged to contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy if they need help.