Skip to Content

Cancun Faces New Restrictions As Cases Surge And Hospitals Fill

Share The Article

Last Updated

Cancun is facing new restrictions as cases surge with some local hospitals reporting 100% occupancy. The city will now return to ‘yellow alert' the Quintana Roo State Governor announced. Most of the region’s municipalities, including Tulum and Playa del Carmen, will be subject to the associated restrictions from January 10th until January 16th. It will then be reassessed. 

walking on beach

Mexico is battling COVID with its so-called “Epidemiological Traffic Light System”. Throughout the pandemic, regions in the country have been designated one of four “traffic-light” colors corresponding to the severity of their infection rate. Each color has its own restrictive attributes relating to operating procedures and daily life.

Quintana Roo, the state which contains Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, has been enjoying a green light designation for the past few months. When in a green zone, hotels, restaurants, bars, public parks, cinemas, theaters, and most other businesses are all able to function at 100% capacity.

cancun skyline

Cancun has been at this level since October 2021 after fluctuating between orange and yellow for months. The green light proved to be remarkable for tourism. Cancun became one of the most visited cities in the world, allowing visitors from across the globe to enjoy a degree of freedom that has been long sought after since the pandemic began.

But the emergence of the fast-spreading Omicron variant combined with historic tourist surges in the area has resulted in an inevitable infection increase. Confirmed cases have soared in Cancun and beyond since Christmas Eve, leaving some local hospitals at 100% capacity for extended periods of time.

covid signs

Many of those waiting in line for testing and treatment are workers in the tourism industry who are being exposed on a daily basis to foreign guests.

New Restrictions In Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum

But now, under the “yellow light” designation, businesses will be forced to adapt their operating procedures.

Essential services, such as hospitals, banks, and supermarkets will be allowed to function at full capacity, although with strict adherence to health and safety guidelines like mask-wearing and social distancing.

empty beach club

Office-based settings will only be able to function at 70% capacity. Events like exhibitions and conferences will be limited to 70% if they are held in an outdoor space. However, if they are held indoors, the figure will be dropped to 50%.

The tourist sector will take a heavy financial hit as virtually every aspect of a visitor’s experience will be impacted. Hotels, restaurants, historical sites, theme parks, and any tourist services will all be reduced to a 60% functioning capacity. Casinos will have a drastic drop to 50% of their capacity.

selling on beach

Bars, nightclubs, discos, and cantinas will all be unable to open.

Nightly business curfews will be enacted at 1 am, and any events with more than 150 will be required to have each attendee show proof of a negative COVID test.

Although understandable, and to a certain degree inevitable, the news will still be tough to hear for many businesses in Cancun. Tourist arrivals have been incredibly high over the Christmas season, and many sources are projecting millions more in 2022.

sign with masks

Many airlines have added routes to Cancun and Quintana Roo in recent months, acknowledging a clear pivot in interest to the area. Some estimates were anticipating as much as 100% capacity at times over the coming months, but for the next week at least, that won’t be possible.

So far, figures are not in for cancellations from tourists who would prefer not to arrive during a yellow zone period. Nor is it clear what options hotels with more bookings than the 60% capacity will have. But expect it to be a turbulent week for the resort town.

empty beach

Visitors to the area are strongly advised to contact their accommodation provider and any pre-booked services to check on any potential disruptions they may face during their trip.

Any traveler is advised to keep abreast of any potential changes in restrictions to their destination as these can develop quickly. 

Read More: Travel Insurance That Covers Trip Interruption and Omicron

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Peg Muzyka

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Hoping to visit Cancun in July.


Sunday 9th of January 2022

Stay strong Mexico!!! I’m afraid of the vaxx not covid.


Sunday 9th of January 2022

This is a huge mistake. They’re going to forfeit having a functioning economy just to virtue signal and bow to useless measures. If the hospitals are supposedly overrun, build more wards! Don’t shut down all of society like the dysfunctional western nations post-2020.

It’s absurd it’s like it’s coming from a singular script written for the entire world, and it freaks me out to wonder if Mexico will soon bow to tyranny as well. If they implement a vaxx pass I’m going to lose all hope


Monday 10th of January 2022

@M, I’m in Mexico right now and it’s faring much better than western countries honestly. Streets, malls, museums, parks, beaches, etc are all packed. If there’s an emergency then why isn’t everyone dropping dead from congregating in small spaces? Maybe Mexicans are just more sensible than westerners, who waste their lives hiding under a rock. And no, I’m not vaccinated lol and I’ve never caught covid.


Monday 10th of January 2022

@M, the president of Mexico repeatedly said that he will not force the vaxx on its innocent people. He also won’t introduce any such thing as vaxx passport. So, no, we won’t get the vaxx.


Sunday 9th of January 2022

@R, R have you been to Mexico they are a red world nation do you think they have money just lying around to build more wards? Look at the US they had to convert convention centers and cruise ships last year and still don't have it under control. Do the world a favor get your Vaxx and wear a mask and don't visit Mexico.


Sunday 9th of January 2022

Tourists will have the option to visit a more welcoming State in Mexico.


Monday 10th of January 2022

@Christian, hahahaha 😂😂😂 reality check. Mexico is already the antivax paradise because no other country is acting this way. Good like find another one.