Merida, Yucatan — Closed for more than a month, area hotels are poised to reopen in just over three weeks.
The industry has agreed to strict safety protocols to reassure visitors nervous about the coronavirus crisis.
A logo, sort of a seal of approval, will indicate which properties are part of the Mexican Association of Yucatan Hotels’ “COVID-free” program.
The hotel group’s president, Héctor Navarrete Medina, promised hotels will comply with hygiene and sanitation protocols required by federal, state and municipal health authorities.
The group is pitching to bring the COVID-free program to the national level.
“We are looking to maintain and reactivate the activity of the sector, because it will be very difficult to sustain the workforce if the activities in the hotels continue to be stopped,” he said. “That is why we will prepare to return to activities next month with all the appropriate sanitation measures.”
Hotels were doing well, and new properties were rising, when the coronavirus shutdown caused everything to screech to a halt. On March 17, when school was officially suspended in Yucatan, hotel occupancy in Merida was around 85 percent and reservations for events such as Tianguis Turístico de Mérida and Easter was around 95 percent.
All but 12 of around 180 properties later closed as tourism collapsed. Summer is expected to bring a slow recovery, said Navarrete Medina.
Closing hotels in Yucatan threw more than 20,000 hotel workers into unemployment.