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New restrictions on the way as Quintana Roo turns back to orange

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Despite rules to the contrary, many locals and visitors in Cancún opt not to wear facemasks or follow social distancing protocols. Photo: Courtesy

Due to an increase in COVID-19 infections, Quintana Roo will be returning to orange on Mexico’s epidemiological traffic light system

The change to orange will occur on Monday, May 3 and will last at least up to May 9. However, experts say that it is extremely unlikely that Quintana Roo will be able to reverse its fortunes so quickly. 

In recent weeks, Cancún has seen a 14% rise of new COVID-19 cases which has brought with it a considerable increase in the number of hospitalizations.

“Nobody wanted this, but we must take it as an opportunity to redouble our efforts in the fight against the virus and avoid further hospitalizations and loss of life,” said Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Manuel Joaquín González.

Critics say that the state has been particularly lax when it comes to enforcing social distancing guidelines, particularly in restaurants, entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. 

It is unclear how exactly the return to orange will impact Quintana Roo’s tourism industry. In the past many of the regulations have existed mostly on paper.

Earlier: Mass vaccinations proposed in Mexico tourist hot spots

Mexico is one of the few countries not to require international visitors to prove their COVID-19 status through a recent negative test. On an average day, the Cancún international airport receives well over 200 flights, with over half of those being international. 

Hotel occupancy in Cancún and the Riviera Maya has reached over 65% according to the state hotel association. As a result, beaches and tourist attractions are beginning to fill up more and more every day. 

At large nightclubs like the Coco Bongo partygoers have their temperatures checked before entering, but once they are inside social distancing rules go out the window. 

“I mean yeah, they checked our temperature to get in and gave us some gel, but that’s about it. Nobody wants to be worrying about COVID when they are on holiday,” said Kelsey Adams, a tourist from Nebraska. 

For several months, there have been reports of massive clandestine parties along the Riviera Maya. While some of these events are being shut down by authorities, the majority are able to go on without a hitch.

As whatever changes the government decides to implement will not be effective until Monday, there is a concern that many will take the weekend as a hedonistic last hurrah.

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