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.