5th avenue Playa del Carmen
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5th Avenue Playa del Carmen during Coronavirus

Whoever visited Playa del Carmen knows about the bustling street 5th Avenue. It is the place to go when you are in Playa. You can wine, dine, enjoy the nightlife or go shopping. %th Avenue has it all. Need souvenirs from home or crave ice cream? Let’s go to 5th.

Things have changed

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, things have changed in Playa del Carmen, not so fast at first. Some of us were really worried about tourists sticking around for so long, but finally the inevitable happened and hotels started to close down. The streets became more and more empty per day and the change was noticeable.

All those hard workers that make your holiday pleasure and a dream come true have been sent home, and most of them are currently without an income. And with the beaches closed down and guarded, the last tourists have abandoned 5th as well. Only a few go look for a Starbucks coffee or an AH Cacao chocolate cake and maybe one or two stop at Aldo’s for ice cream. But that is about it.

Coco Bongo is closed, as are the other nightclubs, no more pool parties, no more mariachi in the streets and no more musicians at the beach. No dancers in Parque Los Fundadores and hardly any ferries to Cozumel, only the necessary transport.

Nobody cares anymore if there is sargasso at the beach, for you cannot go for a swim anyway, and the beach cleaners are not only there to remove the sargasso but also to urge people to go home if they passed the barricades and slipped on the beaches.

Can you imagine what an impact this virus has on a place like Cancún or Playa del Carmen, or Tulum?

All parks even Xcaret, all archaeological zones, all beaches, all hotels are closed. Cenotes are off-limits and jungle trails are a no-go. And the pressure to stay home and not go out for a taco or so is huge. All the food stalls in the streets are gone, even beyond the tourist area and the amount of taxis has been halved.

Without all this income, in an economy where most people live day by day depending on tips and bonuses from sales, this has a huge impact on daily life. Everybody is looking for a job and those who gave up return home. Since many Mexicans working in tourism come from elsewhere in the country. Like a Mexican once told me: you follow the money. And when there is no more money you move on. Or go home and stay home with your loved ones hoping for better times to come.

It will take a long time for tourism to get back on its feet again

Although the government promises to look into returning to work somewhere in May 2020, I doubt that will be the case. Since Mexico is still in phase 2 of the virus spread and Community contamination has not even started here. So it will be much longer. And that means more problems for workers that have been let go of.

To re-hire staff and train them, set up hotel services, to make a restart will be a slow process. It will not happen overnight.
it will take weeks to get back to “normal”. If ever……..

I have created a video about the difference in 5th Avenue, before and after the Coronavirus outbreak.