Will it be safe to book a hotel in Cancun in 2020 and what to expect? Are hotels open and how is the situation at the moment after COVID19
Mexico is still working its way out of the COVID-19 epidemic through a system called Semaforo
On the road to recovery from a total shutdown of tourism with a virus that is highly contagious and still going around, not only in Mexico but worldwide, Mexico is taking precautions to make sure both tourist and workers will be safe during the coming years ar the world waits for a vaccine.
In Cancun and the rest of Riviera Maya, this means that hotels and tourist attractions can have a proof of safe measurements that guarantee a COVID-19 free stay by applying for a certificate that shows the hotel or attractions does everything according to government laws and regulations to keep both workers and tourists safe.
This includes sanitation stops and checkpoints at the main entrance
different ways of transport back and forth between the airport to the hotel
new rules for buffets and restaurants
and for the time being only a 30-40% occupation of rooms.
Working with a colour code referred to as “Semaforo” (traffic light) All of Quintana Roo, that includes Cancun, today when writing this article on May 31 is Orange. There are 2 Semaforo’s one for Tourism and one for local economy and society. On the second Semaforo Quintana Roo, including Cancun which has the highest of contaminations in Quintana Roo is Red.
Red meaning that only essential businesses start on June 1. From there, depending on how the virus is contained and the people behave, the State government, in close guidance from the federal government will work its way to orange, yellow and green. In the green zone, the contamination and spreading of the virus are low, all other colours have a severe risk of a new outbreak and a need for new isolation.
Yet, despite the red colour of the Semaforo, tourism is starting up slowly. June 8, 74 hotels will reopen. For local tourism. Most of these hotels are along the coastline between Cancun and Chetumal
Hotel chains named are:
Smaller hotels will reopen after July 1.
Airbnb has announced to follow state ordinance, so it is my good guess as Experience host that booking will be accepted through Airbnb from July 1.
What to expect when booking a vacation in Cancun in the “New Normal”?
You will notice a difference starting at the airport when you arrive by plane. There will be checks, sanitisation and corridors.
From there the public transport and transfer provided by the hotel will be different from what you might be used to. There will be smaller groups, fewer people on the bus or minivan.
You have to wear facemasks. Face Masks are mandatory in Quintana Roo.
Instead of walking up to the front desk for check-in, you will first pass sanitary filters, where your temperature will be measured and you will be instructed on behaviour, hotel sanitisation policies and you have to sanitise before entering the hotel.
This will make the check-in procedure longer, but you can imagine it is for your own safety, the safety of the workers and for those back home to whom you return afterwards.
Both the Mexican Tourism Board and the State government work towards a safe environment
In the meantime, the named hotels are hiring staff and preparing for the visit of tourists, accepting a limited amount of bookings. They have to prepare the hotel for the new normal, restaurant capacity will be different, buffet’s and self-service restaurants all will have a different setup. Be aware that the holiday you remembered from the past and you long to return to will not exist anymore.
Tourist hotspots and tours will all restart at a lower capacity. And there will be waiting for lines depending on how a locations tourist influx has organized.
The way the colours of the Semaforo change depends on certain criteria. Economic, social, mobility, demand, safety. To name a few.
Please be aware that because of the 2 Semaforo’s you may find different rules and regulations apply once you leave the Hotel Zone. To go to f.e. Walmart
You should take this all very seriously
In a country where most people depend on a daily income and live day by day, the sacrifice of 8-9 weeks in isolation and lockdown has been a big one. I hope you remember that when you meet one of the first 10,000 workers that can restart working in hospitality on June 8 and that you will tip generously.
The Semaforo is the gateway to the new normal, a society where we keep distant, not make physical contact and where we clean and sanitize vigorously. Where we are honest about our state of health only to protect ourselves and others.
Please bear in mind that when you come to Quintana Roo a facemask is mandatory at all times when you are outside the resort. Inside the resort, you have to follow resort policies that fit the new normality.
How about the beaches?
The public beaches remain closed until the local Semaforo reaches the colour yellow, that is still 3 steps away since we are in full red at the moment.
Cancun and Playa del Carmen have high levels of sick people, yet the curve is flattening and expected to drop in the week to come. But all that is a strong as the weakest link. One huge birthday party can ruin it all, one beach party, one rooftop party. We are still in a very vulnerable state.
Beaches for the resorts will open, but only for your resort. A beach walk is most likely limited or not allowed. Int he Hotel zone beaches might reopen, because the hotelzone is seen as a different area in town totally dedicated to tourism. But up till now, this is unclear to me.
How about the Sargasso?
Every year the area of Riviere Maya is heavily suffering from tonnes of sargasso. Although predictions for this year were that there would be less than the last 2 years, still there will be a lot. There is sargasso already, the sea barriers were put up earlier this week, the ships are out to sweep it up. And the workers are cleaning the beaches at the resorts that open. The other beaches I have no idea. I am not allowed near any of them.
I looked at the beaches in Playa del Carmen today, May 31, and they looked okay. There is Sargasso, but not as much as previous years, due to the wind coming in from the sea, there were large brown matrasses with sargasso floating around, the sea barrier is to be installed any day now and workers will clean up the beaches like they do every year. This will limit the inconvenience for the tourist regarding the seaweed.
Book your stay in Mexico
Prefer Airbnb, use this link for your first booking and get a huge discount!
*Disclaimer: Mexico is eager to restart tourism, from every 10 pesos earning for the State of Quintana Roo 5 come from tourism. And the sector provides so many job opportunities for people that now lost theirs due to COVID 19, rules may have changed since I wrote this article. Under no circumstances am I responsible for the booking and outcome of your travels to Quintana Roo.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.