Hard Rock Hotel, 16 other beach properties open in this resort town, throwing caution to the wind
Foreign visitors have begun to get back to the white sands and warm waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The resort town of Cancun is especially in demand, despite Mexico reporting record infection levels in recent days.
Cancun’s Hard Rock Hotel re-opened on June 8 along with 16 other beachside resorts. All of these resorts have installed hand sanitizer stations, ramped up cleaning and are enforcing distancing rules at the pool and beach areas. Although hotels can allow guests into the water, public beaches remain closed.
“The most important thing right now is to revive the state’s economy, but we have to be careful with the health of our people,” Carlos Joaquin, governor of Quintana Roo state which includes Cancun, said last week.
In Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, tourism is the only industry there is. Mexico’s tourism income crashed in April, when it was only 6.3% of what it was one year ago. Hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms were closed. Tourism provides 11 million jobs, directly or indirectly in Mexico, and many of those workers were sent home to wait out the crisis.
The situation is so desperate that Mexico’s tourism secretary proposed making the industry one of Mexico’s “essential activities”, so that it could reopen just as the construction, mining and automotive industries have already started to do. But federal health officials were less enthusiastic, noting that tourism implied travel, crowds and being outdoors.
A full recovery for Mexico’s tourism sector – which represents 8.7% of gross domestic product and employs 4.5 million people – looks far off. Mexico registered only 86,000 foreign visitors in April, down from 2.8 million the same month the year before, according to official data. It has registered 16,448 deaths overall, due to the coronavirus pandemic.