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Sunday, July 05, 2020

Safe Places To Visit... In Mexico


Over the weekend, citing the gargantuan COVID pandemic in Arizona, Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich closed the state's border with Arizona, cutting Arizona holiday-makers off from Mexican beach towns like Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Kino Bay, Los Algodones Beach and San Carlos (and Nacapule Canyon). The U.S. had already done the same thing fir northbound traveller in March.

There are over 9,000 confirmed COVID cases in Sonora and hospitals in Nogales and Guaymas are at full capacity. Arizona is due to pass the 100,000 Covid cases mark on Monday. 3,536 new cases were reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile Puerto Vallarta reopened to visitors last week and visitors began arriving over the weekend. The city's tourism bureau boasts of "health and safety protocols to meet the realities of a world of Covid-19.
Local officials put the entire city of Puerto Vallarta under quarantine starting in early March. It has since undergone a multi-phase reopening process led by local officials following state, federal and international protocols. The process ultimately contributed to the State of Jalisco obtaining the “Safe Travels” stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) last week.

The measures implemented in Puerto Vallarta began at Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport-- the destination’s main “filter”-- which, thanks to its own internal protocols to prevent Covid-19, received the WTTC “Safe Travels” stamp. Social distancing is being practiced by airport workers, and thermal video cameras are being used as people enter the immigration zone, where electronic documentation is currently taking place. Disinfectant mats are used at all airport entrances and exits.

The health and safety of locals and visitors are of the utmost importance across Puerto Vallarta. In addition to the preventive and precautionary measures at the airport, the city is requiring extensive and continuous sanitization in hotels, public transportation, and public spaces. Restaurants must maintain physical distance between tables and patrons, and establishments must place disinfectant mats at entrances. Local officials are also distributing antibacterial gel and conducting temperature checks.

More than 45 hotels have reopened to visitors, with a maximum 30% occupancy, and are offering modified access to on-site restaurants, pools and beaches. A second group of hotels will open before, or during July, for the summer, and the remainder will open in the last trimester of the year, facing the winter high season.

Puerto Vallarta’s iconic Malecon waterfront promenade is not yet fully open to the public, only access points to restaurants and shops. Bars remain closed until the destination exits its current phase of the reopening process.

Connectivity has improved in a notable way since last week. Mexican airlines are offering continuous flights to main domestic destinations, including Mexico City (CDMX), Guadalajara, Tijuana, Aguascalientes, and Monterrey. Internationally, four airlines are connecting U.S. cities with Puerto Vallarta. Alaska Airlines has daily flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco. American Airlines offers a daily connection to Dallas and Los Angeles.  United Airlines maintains a daily flight to Houston. Delta Air Lines will restart daily services to Los Angeles from July 2nd.

Other U.S. airlines are waiting for growth in demand, while Canadian carriers await Canadian government approvals.

Given the dynamic nature of the situation, new measures are expected from Mexico’s federal and state governments, aimed at continuing to advance the reopening of activities in a gradual and safe manner.
Puerto Vallarta isn't my kind of destination-- too glitzy. San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato is though and they also obtained the WTTC "Safe Travels" stamp last week. I haven't been there in 2 decades but I hope I get to visit again.

The whole state of Guanajuato was given the World Travel & Tourism Council's stamp of approval recognizing the implementation of COVID-era global standardized health and hygiene protocols.
The international stamp augments San Miguel de Allende’s own municipal “Health First” certification. The city launched “Health First,” which is granted after local health and safety officials evaluate each location and certify compliance with sanitary protocols for reopening, on May 25. Restaurants, hotels, golf courses, activity centers and cultural spaces, among others, must apply for the certificate online. In addition to the onsite inspection, businesses must complete paperwork providing detailed information on sanitation practices and undergo staff training sessions. Certification is "free but mandatory," according to San Miguel de Allende Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal García.

 “San Miguel de Allende’s infrastructure has been working proactively to ensure the wellness of our residents and future visitors and making many sacrifices to contain this pandemic and working with health officials to ensure that all international requirements are met,” said Mayor Villarreal García. “Obtaining the WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ stamp endorses this work and reaffirms that San Miguel de Allende is properly ready in terms of sanitation.”

San Miguel de Allende entered its Phase 0 of its Covid-19 Reactivation plan-- activation of the local economy for the residents-- starting June 1. During the initial phase of the plan, the city saw most of the business infrastructure that affects residents reopen, including restaurants, markets, public transportation, offices and more. At this point, hotels, bars, cantinas, clubs, public or hotel pools will not yet reopen. All residents are asked to wear masks, practice social distancing and apply extensive hygiene practices. Businesses will be required to implement international-grade sanitation protocols, including shoe-cleaning, a decrease in interior foot traffic, set-up of dispensers of antibacterial sanitizer containing 70% alcohol, provision of face masks for people without them and hourly disinfecting of public spaces.  At no point can any groups gather inside or outside public spaces.

Access to San Miguel de Allende has been closed since March to non-residents, with city police monitoring all entry points (Querétaro, Celaya-Comonfort, Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo and Dr. Mora). Those permitted to enter must not show symptoms of Covid-19 and must be essential to the needs of the recovery phase the city is currently in.

Mayor Villarreal García announced that hotels may start accepting bookings for July 15 arrivals as of this week, in the hope that the city may start reopening in the upcoming month.

“We take our place in the world seriously, as you do when you are with us,” said Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal García. “With these efforts we confirm San Miguel de Allende as a leading destination.

5 comments:

Sunil said...

Thank you for sharing such a place. Sure, we will visit soon.
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