Several Popular Mexican Destinations Ban Tourists to Battle Coronavirus

Several popular destinations in Mexico have started banning tourists to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

According to Mexico News Daily, municipalities in Quintana Roo, Veracruz and Oaxaca are working on plans to allow only local residents, vehicles carrying departing visitors, essential workers and people visiting medical facilities to use the surrounding roads.

In Lazaro Cardenas, Quintana Roo, a meeting of residents voted unanimously to ban tourists from the area until the viral outbreak subsides. Authorities in Tecolutla, Veracruz, have told tourism officials to stop accepting reservations until further notice.

“The coming weeks are crucial to avoid massive spread,” Mayor Juan Angel Espejo Bovio told Mexico News Daily. “Let’s remember that together we can overcome this risk.”

Tamiahua, Veracruz, Mayor Citlali Medellin announced security guards would be turning away tourists at 71 different communities in the area, with each neighborhood being inhabited by 5-10 guards each.

Other areas in Mexico have not banned tourists, but are setting up medical checkpoints to determine if visitors have a fever. Some regions are also asking taxi drivers to refuse service to foreigners looking to visit the beach.

In the United States, several of the top national parks were closed to the public Tuesday as a result of restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

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Travelers in the Mexican Caribbean Unfazed by Coronavirus Hysteria

As the busy spring break season begins, similar to past years, travelers are gearing up for some much-needed time away. Families are planning out which activities they will do during their vacation, and college students are getting through a few more days of classes before the break they need to get them through the rest of the year.

Some people, though, are questioning if they should even be traveling amid the coronavirus outbreak. Airlines are waiving change fees; cruise lines are modifying cancellation penalties and several travelers are wondering if they should “risk it” or cancel their trip altogether.

On Saturday, I departed from the Milwaukee airport and landed in Cancun for a stay at Hotel Xcaret Mexico. I never considered canceling my trip, but I did wonder what the airports would look like. I envisioned they might be seeing less traffic than normal, but I was completely wrong.

The security line at the Milwaukee airport was long, the charter flight I flew down on was full and the Cancun airport was possibly the busiest I’ve ever seen it.

The only difference on the flight was seeing everyone cleaning off their seats with disinfectant wipes and frequently using hand sanitizer—practices many travelers have been doing for years.

In addition to busy airports, Hotel Xcaret Mexico and the Groupo Xcaret parks and tours were also bustling with tourists.

On Monday, I spent the morning at Tulum and the afternoon at Xel-Ha Park, and both places saw loads of people throughout the day.

According to Joaquin Maass, Brand Manager of Hotel Xcaret Mexico, the hotel has not been affected by the coronavirus scare. In fact, the property is at more than 80 percent occupancy this week and in the weeks to come.

Travelers staying at the resort did not seem to be affected by the coronavirus. It came up in conversation a few times, but no one mentioned the possibility of a cancellation or even seemed fazed by the hysteria at all.

Hailee Miller, a student at the University of Georgia, is also in Mexico this week staying at Grand Oasis Cancun with eight of her friends for spring break. She didn’t consider canceling her trip and mentioned the resort is very busy this week with spring breakers and families.

“We absolutely did not consider canceling our trip at all,” she explained. “Cancun isn’t on any list to be concerned about coronavirus so we just wash our hands and stay aware, especially in the airport.”

The Dominican Republic is also seeing business as usual, and many other Caribbean islands are unaffected by the coronavirus hysteria. These popular spring break destinations will continue to see several tourists over the next few weeks.

So although it may seem like the virus is taking over, many areas around the world are welcoming visitors like normal. Before canceling your upcoming vacation, be sure to buy into the facts, not the frenzy.

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