Heading south of the border? As many destinations are reopening after lockdowns, one popular location with American travelers has been Mexico but it’s hotspots may be going in the opposite direction towards a shutdown. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your way to your favorite spot in Mexico but we do recommend reading what you need to know and expect.
Before booking a flight, make sure to also do your homework on the wider situation on the ground—local case counts and hospital capacities, the sentiment towards visitors during the on-going pandemic, and if particular restaurants or sites you want to visit are open. Additionally, check out our other articles: What to Expect from Hotels as Travel Returns and 10 Things to Look for in a Hotel During the Pandemic.
Mexico is definitely open to travelers and its tourism sector officially reopened on June 1, 2020. However, the land border between the US and Mexico is closed for non-essential travel through at least June 21 but all air travel is allowed.
A negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival is not required but most resorts ask guests to complete health questionnaires. When returning to the US, American travelers will need a negative Covid-19 test result taken 72 hours or less prior to arrival. The US Embassy says results for PCR and antigen tests are reliably available within 72 hours in Mexico.
Who can go
At the moment, Mexico has some of the world’s loosest border restrictions with anyone allowed to travel by air for business or leisure.
As of May 19, Mexico had nearly 2.4 million cases of Covid-19, more than 220,000 deaths, and administered more than 23 million doses of vaccine (about 18% of the population). Regardless, restrictions have not been significant and life has gone on as normal for many.
Mexico has a four-tier traffic light system of restrictions. As of May 19, most states were categorized as yellow and green, with a few orange states, and no red states. You can check the color assigned to each state on this interactive map.
Visitors are likely to find the situation different depending on where in the country they travel, with local restrictions varying. Also, movement around your hotel might also be restricted.
Here’s what each level generally mandates:
Green: States in the green phase are largely open, with only social distancing and mask requirements in place for public places and at businesses.
Yellow: States designated as yellow have some reduced capacity requirements in place for public spaces that may become crowded—hotel lobbies, restaurants, beaches, theaters, shops, and tourist attractions must operate at about 70% capacity or less (exact limits depend on the state case count), and bars and clubs are closed.
Orange: States categorized as orange have tighter capacity limits—hotel lobbies, restaurants, and tourist attractions are limited to 50% capacity, while beaches, theaters, and stores are limited to 30-40% or less, depending on the case count.
Red: States in red alert status are subject to stay-at-home orders and curfews, and public beaches and parks are closed—hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions operate at 20% capacity or less, while shops, theaters, gyms, bars, and clubs are closed.
Is Mexico not in your plans right now? …
Click here for more information on the best destinations and top locations in The Americas.
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