While the U.S. Department of State and CDC continue to warn that traveling is unsafe, you might start seeing more and more of your friends posting beach pics from Mexico. What gives? Are you being overly cautious or are they risking their lives by traveling? Trust me, it's gone through our own heads a million times.
If your deciding if it's safe to visit Mexico right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your definitely not alone. At Travel Off Path, we get that question daily and it's a decision that each person has to make for themselves.
What we'll do in this article is give you all the facts so you can make an informed decision on whether it is safe to visit Mexico during COVID-19 and how it may impact your winter getaway.
Disclaimer: Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic can cause increased risk to your health. Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse or recommend traveling against government advisories.
The U.S. government and CDC have stern warnings that will tell you not to travel to Mexico during COVID-19. It doesn't mean you can't go but government organizations are always going to err on the side of caution.
What The CDC Says About Traveling to Mexico During COVID-19
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has listed Mexico as a level 3 risk. That is the highest level of risk the organization gives but keep in mind they have also given this same rating to 201 countries including Canada and the United States.
The warning from the CDC states, “The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Mexico. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Mexico.”
What The United States Government Says About Visiting Mexico During COVID-19
The United States government has dropped its level 4 ‘Do Not Travel' warning for Mexico.
On September 8th, the United States level 4 Travel advisory for Mexico was downgraded to a level 3 ‘Reconsider Travel'.
The official warning from the U.S. Department of State says, “Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.”
Currently the U.S. government still has a level 4 ‘do not travel' for the following areas due to crime and not COVID-19.
Do Not Travel To:
- Colima state
- Guerrero state
- Michoacán state
- Sinaloa state
- Tamaulipas state
How Many People Are Actually Traveling To Mexico During COVID-19?
Mexico has quickly become one of the top travel destinations during the during COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 entry requirements for Mexico do not require any mandatory tests or quarantines upon arrival. This has made it a top choice for many travelers looking for a quick getaway without the worry of being granted entry into the country.
According to ASUR, The Cancun International Airport registered over 1 million passengers in October, 2020. Cancun has already recovered 59% of its tourism when compared with October, 2019 when 1.7 million passengers were registered at the airport.
While Cancun has seen the strongest recovery in the country since reopening for tourism back in June, other top tourist destinations including Los Cabos, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta have also been welcoming back tourists.
Risks of Lockdowns in Mexico
While Mexico never officially closed its borders during the pandemic, certain regions closed resorts, beaches and tourism related services during the initial wave of the pandemic back in March.
Since the second wave of COVID-19 began in October, only Puerto Vallarta has announced new restriction measures which include beaches and restaurants closing earlier than usual.
Other top tourist destinations such as Cancun may limit hotel capacity when cases spike but this measure does not affect travelers vacations.
Compared to other nations around the world that have stranded passengers by strict lockdowns, Mexico has never implemented border closures and has allowed tourists in and out of the country at anytime.
This of course is an unprecedented time and lockdown measures could come into effect at anytime.
COVID-19 Cases in Mexico
As of November 6th, 2020 there have been 949,147 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Authorities have recorded 93,772 deaths due to the virus. The high death rate could point to a lack of testing.
According to information published by Oxford University here are the latest testing figures:
Mexico is testing about 9 people per 100,000 people in a country of approximate 129 million people.
United States, by comparison, is testing 392 per 100,000 in a country of 330 million people.
Canada tests about 166 per 100,000 in a country of 38 million people.
Although Mexico is not testing as many people as the United States, it is important to know that the U.S. does have 10 times the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Destinations in Mexico Earn Safe Travel Stamp
The ‘Safe Travel Stamp‘ by the World Travel and Tourism Council recognizes “governments and companies around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.”
While the ‘Safe Travel Stamp' doesn't guarantee to keep visitors safe from contracting COVID-19 it does show that the destinations are working to prevent the spread of the virus.
Many of our Travel Off Path community readers have submitted stories of just how impressed they were with the safety protocols resorts had implemented to protect travelers.
All major tourist destinations in Mexico including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Mazatlán have earned the ‘Safe Travel Stamp'
Mask Requirements and Social Distancing In Mexico
While there is not a country wide mandate on masks, individual states have implemented strict rules for wearing masks in public including fines and jail time for violators. Mexico takes its tourism industry serious and goes to great lengths to protect it.
Social distancing policies are in effect across the Mexico especially in tourism areas that are following strict capacity guidelines based on the epidemiology of the area.
Health Care In Mexico
Before traveling to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers need to be aware that they may not receive the same level of health care that they may be used to.
In some areas of Mexico quality of care can be excellent, especially in private hospitals while public hospitals may have a lower standard of care and be reaching capacity during outbreaks.
Last week the Federal Ministry of Health said that 54 designated COVID-19 hospitals in the Mexico were at 100% capacity in regards to the their general COVID-19 treatment beds. This did not include acute COVID-19 beds.
Travel Off Path highly recommends travel insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of your trip to Mexico.
So Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico?
It's a great question that truly only you can answer. There are so many factors and unknowns with the pandemic that there is no right or wrong decision. Every traveler is different and each traveler has their own comfort zone of risk.
In the end it's up to you.
If you do decide to travel to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, stay safe and happy travels.
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Originally Published November 6th, 2020
Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories