Los Cabos coronavirus update: beaches reopen with limited offer

As of today, the total of coronavirus cases in Los Cabos stands at 1,662 confirmed cases and 66 deaths. There are 295 active ongoing Covid-19 cases and 1,092 patients recovered.

Los Cabos coronavirus situation. Photo: Agencies
Los Cabos coronavirus situation. Photo: Agencies

The state of Baja California Sur, one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico where Los Cabos is located, opened its doors to tourism this June 15th, after the epidemiological signal changed from red to orange in the state and after being closed by the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), for approximately three months.

According to the health authorities, under the new color of the federal (orange) and state signals in phase 5, the destination hotels will be able to operate up to 30% of their capacity, and the restaurants no more than 25%. These percentages will gradually increase as the entity approaches the green color.

This return after the coronavirus in Los Cabos takes place gradually, starting with a 30% capacity on beaches, following all the health recommendations issued by the federal authorities and the State Health Council for both citizens and visitors.

The opening of the beaches of Los Cabos has a schedule of stay from 10:00 in the morning to 18:00 in the afternoon, every day. The same applies to maritime service providers, as there are tourists who like to embark on a great nautical adventure in recreational boats that usually take groups of visitors to beaches like El Chileno and Santa María, mainly to have a wide variety of attractions.

Slowly but surely, this is how the economic recovery of Los Cabos has been, despite the fact that the figures for coronavirus infections are still not very favorable for the State of Baja California Sur (BCS) and infections continue to rise. Despite this, the tourism industry is having a favorable recovery, proof of which is the increase in the number of passengers entering the destination by air. 

According to the Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) and the director of the Los Cabos International Airport, Francisco Villaseñor, the number of passengers has increased, but not the number of flights, reaching 5,000 incoming and outgoing passengers in good days, approximately 50 percent less than what was registered before the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Cabos coronavirus cases trend line. Data: Secretariat of Health
Los Cabos coronavirus cases trend line. Data: Secretariat of Health

The Los Cabos International Airport is working on prevention measures for the entry of passengers, which is not only the taking of temperature, but also the filling out of questionnaires to detect risk factors, as well as the disinfection plan of the air terminals, in which much emphasis is placed on those areas where travelers have more contact.

On July 15, the international terminal 2 will open its operations again. This will only be for flights from the United States (USA), since Canada will do so until the end of the year, as well as the flight from London.

Reviving tourism in Los Cabos is as difficult as it is necessary. The drop in traveler flows due to the coronavirus contingency has hit the region's main economic activity, whose vocation has been focused on foreign tourism. When normal traffic of American travelers has not recovered, this beach destination starts an arduous strategy of promotion both abroad and at home. 

Los Cabos coronavirus update
Los Cabos coronavirus update

In 2019, 72% of the 2.6 million tourists that the destination attracted were of foreign origin, of which 40% came from California, United States, a key market that is now in dispute with other destinations such as Hawaii.

Although California is the most important market - where even Los Cabos opened its first representative office outside the country in 2019 - tourists from other U.S. cities like Seattle, Washington, and some border states like Texas and Arizona are keen to spend their holidays in the Sea of Cortez.

About 40% of the tourists the region receives come from California, a market that will have to fight with destinations like Hawaii. Locally, the competition is with Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.

Los Cabos airport certified as a safe place

Los Cabos International Airport reports that it has taken extraordinary measures to provide security and confidence to passengers in the face of the situation in Mexico and the world, where a pandemic has changed the measures of coexistence and protocols for flights.

After reviewing compliance with recommended protocols and implemented actions, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) awarded the #SafeTravels seal to Los Cabos International Airport.

This seal is a quality distinction in the application of processes against the spread of COVID-19, and is being adopted by various industry players worldwide, from airlines or hotels, to destinations, cities, and states. Even the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which depends on the United Nations, has participated in the process and adopted the aforementioned seal.

The international protocols that have been fulfilled to operate in new normal are divided into four areas: operational and personnel preparation, a guarantee of a safe experience, regaining confidence and credibility, and implementing policies of empowerment.

The implementation of these protocols is in addition to the extraordinary measures implemented at the airport, consisting of the installation of sanitary filters in coordination with the competent authorities, the measurement of temperature with remote thermometers, the installation of thermographic cameras and the implementation of flying posters and videos to inform or promote hygiene and Coronavirus prevention recommendations.

Likewise, social distancing measures have been applied, consisting of limiting the access of companions to the terminal building, maintaining a healthy distance in rows, with the installation of vinyl on the floor, benches, and utensils, separating benches and limiting the capacity of airplane buses and commercial premises.

Acrylic was installed at passenger service counters; access to commonly used facilities is restricted; identified containers are used for the disposal of protective material; disinfectant is applied to terminal entrance mats; antibacterial gel dispensers are installed at different points, and the use of gloves and mouthguards in processes involving contact with passengers is coordinated with authorities, airlines, and commercial operators.

Cleaning and sanitization measures have also been taken, which consist of implementing a specialized disinfection service for the terminal building, areas, and equipment; periodic cleaning with disinfectant; and implementation of state-of-the-art steam machines for deep cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in direct contact with passengers.

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) is calling on passengers to complete their paperwork online and avoid queues at airline counters if possible. It also recommends that passengers take their time to arrive prior to their flight and recalls that, due to health contingencies, the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) requests all passengers to fill out the Traveler Risk Factor Identification Questionnaire and in case they do not fill it out prior to arriving at the airport, they should do so there; which could take a few more minutes.

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