Quintana Roo State Sides Back to Yellow for Covid Restrictions

yellow traffic light Riviera Maya

Going back to yellow Traffic light for Riviera Maya and Qroo

Governor Carlos Joaquin announced on Twitter Thursday that the epidemiological traffic light for the week of January 10-16th would be changed to yellow. The reason is the sharp rise in the amount of Covid-19 cases in the state health centers. Long lines have also formed at testing sites as people want to see if they have Covid-19 and possibly the new variant. Normally the state is divided into the north and south and can follow different traffic light colors. The latest announcement is for both sections of the state. 

The state of Quintana Roo (where the Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen are) reverted one light back to yellow from green. On October 11th of 2021 the state went to the green traffic light for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Not really a surprise

The move to yellow was not a big surprise because of the surging omicron cases sweeping Europe and the rest of North America. Usually Mexico follows the path of the United States in regard to virus spread, just a little behind due to less connectivity to the rest of the world. Since the omicron variant is highly transmissible, it spreads rapidly and often people carry it without having symptoms. 

Many places that started with the omicron variant has cases rise rapidly and then peaked and started to lower after a two month period. So it appears it is our turn to have the latest variant pass though. Just through anecdotal evidence, it does seem that many people have colds now or some possible effect of the virus. This might actually be a good sign that the virus has been spreading here and will pass though the population fairly fast. Testing in Mexico is very low, and actual number of cases is highly under reported. We can only take the official numbers and compare them previous months to see if levels are rising or falling. 

Mexico does not require testing to enter the country, but many countries require their citizens to test negative before flying home from abroad. Testing is very accessible in the Riviera Maya, however, there are more people testing positive for test now. This highlights the need to be cautious on vacation as well as the need to change the traffic light to yellow. 

How the traffic light system works in Mexico

Mexico set up  traffic light system with four stages. Each has different restrictions and based on case loads and available medical services, the traffic light changes. There is red, which is extreme caution, orange, yellow and green, which is the lowest level of restriction. The traffic light method is a fairly easy to understand and gives guidance for businesses to enforce different restrictions. 

Each week the Governor of Quintana Roo announces on Twitter what the traffic light will be for the following week. 

What are the new restrictions and how will this affect your trip?

For most people visiting next week, you will not notice too much of a change. Here are some of the changes that will affect those in the area.

  • All essential business and services are normal. This is hospitals, schools, supermarkets etc. 
  • Conventions and expositions in open air venues are reduced to 70% occupancy. Indoor events are reduced to 50% occupancy. 
  • Gyms are reduced to 70% open air venues and 50% for indoor activities. 
  • At 60% occupancy are hotels, restaurants, historical sights, salons, theaters, beaches, and malls. 
  • Casinos are to operate at 50% occupancy. 
  • Public transportation means 4 people maximum in private vehicles, taxis are allowed 2 passengers, and public transportation 50%. 
  • Closed are bars, nightclubs, and cantinas. 

The things that will affect most tourist are the slightly longer lines to get into restaurants, possibly higher prices are hotels because of limited occupancy, taking multiple taxis for groups, and the not being able to go to clubs at night. 

It is also good to remind people that since tours to Mayan ruins and sights will be reduced occupancy, it is always good to book in advance. This not only allows you a spot, but also allows tour companies to plan accordingly, to add more tours or arrange different transportation. 


  1. Do you know how these restrictions would apply to a sold out vacation booked at somewhere like the Hard Rock? If they are sold out and at 100% capacity for an event that starts on the 17th, and the light stayed at yellow, could this event still happen at full capacity? Would they be able to find exemptions that didn’t apply to them?

    • Hello John

      Since hotels do not know in advance of the traffic light color, it is not possible to cancel bookings and reduce capacity. The whole reduced capacity has been handled in clever ways by hotels and they have tried to roll with the ups and downs of covid tourism. Some have spread out tables or even moved tables outside to make guests comfortable. This and other measures have ensured a good stay and a more spread out stay from other guests. If you have a reservation, this should be guaranteed.

  2. Nous allons a Iberostar Quetzal du 16 janvier au 23 janvier 2022.
    On se demande toujours ce que l’on doit faire *annuller ou y aller*

    • Depuis un an, il y a le feu jaune. Tant de touristes ont voyagé pendant le feu jaune. Vous remarquerez peut-être de petites différences, mais vous pouvez toujours profiter de votre voyage. Nous n’annulerions pas juste pour les petits changements. Si vous aviez prévu de sortir en boîte tous les soirs à Playa, cela pourrait être la seule raison d’annuler et de revenir quand vous pourrez sortir en boîte tous les soirs, mais nous pensons que ce n’est pas vos plans.

    • This is an excellent question and one that we also have because we are attending an organized concert at the Moon Palace in which there will be a sold out crowd of people gathering to watch a show. How does this work with the outdoor gatherings limited to 70% capacity?

  3. Hola! I have reservations in March for a 14 day vacation. I’m wondering what the present practice is for people who test positive for covid before flying back to the U.S. Are there only certain hotels who will accept people who test positive & need to be quarantined?

    • Hello

      There are no set hotels. Some hotels offer extended stays at the hotel for a discount, other times you need to plan your own accommodation. the good news is that we are starting to go down in numbers for Covid and it looks like our 4th wave is going down. This is expected since we follow trends in the US by about 1-3 weeks behind.

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  1. Quintana Roo state where the Riviera Maya is goes to orange traffic light for Jan 24-30

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