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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Yucatán promotes pandemic-era tourism with a new campaign

But closes down its most famous beach

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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.
Yucatán tourism secretary Michelle Fridman Hirsch presents a new campaign at Paseo 60. MID CityBeat’s Stephanie Carmon, left, and Ulyses Huesca Tercero, of Camino del Mayab, were part of a panel to discuss the topic. Photo: Courtesy

While continuing to monitor crowds and activities, state authorities presented a new tourism campaign designed to attract domestic travelers to Yucatán. 

The campaign, called “365 Días en Yucatán,” comes just in time for the Easter holidays, and while the health department struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference at Paseo 60, state tourism secretary Michelle Fridman Hirsch told attendees that most of Yucatán’s tourism attractions are open to the public, but locals and visitors alike are required to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks at all times.

Policies regarding nonessential activities such as tourism can seem rather disjointed. 

On one hand, Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal has announced restrictions over the Easter holidays such as continuing curfews and the closing of Progreso’s boardwalk and beaches. But on the other, tourism authorities lead by Fridman Hirsch, continue to boast that Yucatán is open for business and ready to receive tourists, despite COVID-19.

Earlier: Yucatán Celestún’s beaches to remain open to the public for Easter

“The governor is in a tough spot. He is doing his best to keep infections from skyrocketing but at the same time, he can’t just turn around and tell the restaurant and tourism sectors that they are yet again out of luck. Vila knows he can’t have it both ways, but honestly what choice does he have?” an anonymous source working in the state government told Yucatan Magazine.

The past month has seen a considerable increase in activity in Mérida’s restaurant, malls and some entertainment venues, despite the fact that Yucatán is still at orange on Mexico’s epidemiological monitoring system.

Several businesses in Mérida such as restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores have been shut down or received fines for exceeding their maximum capacity or not following sanitary guidelines. Yet one does not have to look very far to find examples of crowded restaurants or overly crowded stores. 

New cases of COVID-19 have decreased steadily in Yucatán over the past few months, after reaching a peak of 1,700 a week in late January. But epidemiologists fear that the Easter holidays could bring a new wave of infections similar to the one seen after Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

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