Playa del Carmen coronavirus update: beaches open for visitors


In Solidaridad, which hosts the resort city of Playa del Carmen, the number of positive cases of coronavirus totals 1,830 people, of whom 217 have died and 1,192 have recovered. The destination remains in the yellow phase, which allows activities at an average of 60 percent capacity.

Playa del Carmen coronavirus cases
Playa del Carmen coronavirus cases

The average occupation of the Riviera Maya in November, less than four days away from the end of the month, is 26.5%, well below the 33% with which Playa del Carmen closed last October.

The Quintana Roo Tourism Promotion Council reported that the highest occupation so far in November was last Sunday, November 15, with 32.4%, while in October the maximum was 43%. Due to the yellow epidemiological signal, the hotels are allowed to operate at a maximum of 60% of their occupation; previously with the orange color, they were only authorized at 30%.

The organism announced that the lowest occupation so far in November was 20.7%, registered on November 4th; the percentage numbers are based on more than 47 thousand rooms in the Riviera Maya. Before the pandemic, the Riviera Maya had an average occupancy rate of 85%, in addition to highs that surpassed 92% during vacation seasons, particularly during the end of the year and Easter festivities.

The decline of occupancy in Playa del Carmen started in March, when several countries began to close their borders due to the advance of the coronavirus, to such an extent that the percentage of occupancy in the Riviera Maya began to fall to levels never seen before and, until it finally stagnated for several weeks at an average of 2% of occupancy with rooms occupied only by health and tourism personnel who could not leave Playa del Carmen after flight cancellations.

It was not until the middle of the year, when the new normality began and also reopened the accesses to the beaches, that gradually the numbers of occupation in the destination rose again. According to projections by the Riviera Maya Hotel Association, they expect a rebound for the next month of December, with occupancy reaching close to 60%, which will represent the best guest perception since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic or Covid-19.

Playa del Carmen coronavirus update
Playa del Carmen coronavirus update

According to the epidemiological traffic light, hotels, restaurants, historical sites, theme parks, golf courses, and tourist services are able to operate at 60 percent of their capacity. Also, public parks, religious services, theaters and cinemas, shopping centers, department stores, manufacturing, hairdressing, and beauty salons.

Administrative and technical services follow at 75 percent; the sale of goods and computers at 80 percent, and the opening of essential activities such as banks, markets, construction, and laundries, among others, at normal capacity. Bars, nightclubs, discos, schools, and entertainment centers will remain closed.

Upon entering, people pass through a sanitary filter where their temperature is taken, they are given antibacterial gel and checked for the use of mouth guards. In all these beaches, street commerce is prohibited and it is not allowed to introduce cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and food.

Covid-19 in Playa del Carmen. Image: Ministry of Health
Covid-19 in Playa del Carmen. Image: Ministry of Health

Coronavirus measures

As part of the reopening of Playa del Carmen's beaches, the Municipality of Solidaridad designed a pilot program. As part of the plan, citizens must comply with eight indispensable measures; in addition, after 10 days of reopening, the results will be evaluated to determine whether they will continue to be open or not.

To be considered:

The use of "non-disposable outside the water space" mouthguards is recommended.

Keep your distance. Beach users in Playa del Carmen must maintain a minimum distance of 5 meters between groups or individuals.

They must also maintain a distance of 2 meters in the showers.

Only individuals or groups of no more than four people will be allowed to enter.

The use of umbrellas will be limited to 4 people per umbrella.

No food, coolers, or alcoholic beverages may be brought onto the beaches.

Contact sports or joint sports should be avoided.

The temperature will be taken in the sanitary filters.

Tourism in Playa del Carmen is recovering slowly

The sportfishing and diving tours in Playa del Carmen remain at a low level, with no operation above 15 percent, explained the representative of the Caribbean Sea Tourism Cooperative, José Gómez Burgos. The low hotel occupancies in the destination due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic prevent boaters from operating with positive numbers, reaching between 10 and 15 percent overall.

The expectations are of improvement in December, with the holiday season at the end of the year and in which, if the yellow phase is maintained or the green phase is reached at the epidemiological traffic light, they will be able to return to numbers similar to those registered in previous years. Several colleagues have removed the boats from the sea so that they do not generate greater expenses and will expect an increase in the flow of tourism with the levels of occupation.

The tourism that predominates is national and regional. Foreign tourists are very few, because they look for the sunny sea and the white sandy beaches, although one or another arrives to enjoy the cenotes and other attractions that are in the municipality, taking advantage of the night to tour the landmark Fifth Avenue, where there are many urban artists in search of an income to overcome the economic crisis, while the clubs and discos are closed as a preventive measure due to the coronavirus, which has given a blow to tourism.