As of June, 2020, the government of Mexico has opened air travel for vacation and other purposes to the country despite COVID-19 still having a grip on the world. Airlines are bringing tourists and travelers for other purposes such as business, to a variety of destinations, in particular beach resorts such as Huatulco, the Mayan Riviera, Playa del Carmen, Cancun and the rest. What’s the reasoning, and is it wise for non-Mexicans to now visit the country?
While we don’t know everything about coronavirus, we can safely assume that people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic (i.e. normal temperature), and still spread it. For present purposes let’s refer to Americans wanting to get away to their favorite Mexican destination during the summer of 2020. It is suggested that one reason the American government is permitting international travel is that upon return it can still quarantine its citizens and otherwise residents. In addition, if an American gets sick while abroad, there won’t be a burden on the American healthcare system because the person will be getting treatment abroad, not being permitted to hop on a plane. So it’s fine for the American government to adopt this stance.
For the Mexican government, it helps tax revenue if Americans now vacation in resorts. And yes, it also assists residents such as hotel chambermaids and restaurant and bar staff who otherwise would not have work or an income. But what about the traveler who has the virus and arrives at the resort? He or she can infect locals!
Our Mexican healthcare system is already overburdened dealing with its own citizens and legal residents. As of mid-June, half of the 32 states are still either red or orange light categorized. We don’t need Americans (or visitors from other countries) exacerbating the situation. by either infecting Mexicans, or becoming symptomatic themselves. Furthermore, as a general rule Mexicans, in particular villagers, are not as conscious as urban Americans in terms of wearing masks and social distancing. Visitors are thus more likely to become infected with COVID-19 visiting Mexican than if they stay home. Do you want to be stuck in a Mexican health clinic or hospital? Is it fair to the locals and their healthcare system?
A daily newspaper in Oaxaca, the state in which the beach resort is situate, reported on June 19, 2020, that the death toll from COVID-19 was then 420. Seventy-seven of those deaths had occurred over the previous four days! It also reported that on popular downtown street in the state capital, Las Casas, vending stalls had returned to roadside after a brief hiatus, with social distancing not being practiced. In terms of face coverings, perhaps half the passersby are abiding by that recommendation.
You might think that lying on a beach will be very different, and that it’s easy to do social distancing. But think about the woman who approaches you with trinkets and tacos. Do you want to infect her? Do you want her to infect you?
For vacationing, wait until Mexico gives the green light. For business purposes, unless the trip is urgent and must be taken now, similarly wait. It’s the right thing to do, for yourself, and for the people of Mexico.