Can You Travel To Mexico Right Now
(2023 update: This post was written during the pandemic. Travel is back open now. Do check your local travel advisories for the latest guidance)
In the midst of a global pandemic, we are all wondering if traveling to Mexico is restricted and if so, what does that mean for us travelers?
Travel to Mexico is restricted to essential travel only when crossing the U.S.-Mexico land border and you may be denied admission if your reason in considered non-essential. However, commercial flights are still flying to and from Mexico but, it is recommended you reconsider your trip if it is non-essential. Temperature checks may be implemented when arriving in certain states in Mexico and masks are required on all flights and in the airports. Source: mx.usembassy.gov
As far as testing for COVID-19 before traveling to Mexico, it is not required for entry into the country. If you are feeling ill or have any symptoms (symptoms of COVID-19 can be found on cdc.gov website) it is recommended you get tested to assure your safety, and the safety of others before traveling to Mexico.
Multiple restrictions have been implemented in certain states and cities within Mexico. These restrictions include but are not limited to: curfews, public transportation, and intercity or interstate travel.
You can find more restriction information on the specific state you are traveling to on mx.usembassy.gov at the bottom of the page under local resources.
My wife and I were recently visiting Puerto Vallarta from November 1 to November 7, 2020, the first day after their partial lockdown began. Everything seemed to be operating normally but at a reduced capacity, and an 8:30 pm curfew for all non-essential businesses was in place. In fact, the boardwalk would be empty some days, and busy on others.
Any restaurant we entered would require us to take a digital temperature check, wear a face mask, use hand sanitizer, and walk on a sanitization pad for our shoes before entering. Once seated at our table, we could take our masks off and enjoy ourselves as usual. Jalisco, the state we were staying in, was in an orange stoplight system at the time.
On June 1st, 2020, Mexico implemented a national stoplight system to ease restrictions and start allowing non-essential activities. The last spotlight update on states was for dates between October 26 to November 9, 2020.
The spotlight system is measured by four things. The trend in the number of new cases, hospital occupancy trends, current hospital occupancy rates; and percentages of positive COVID-19 cases. Red, orange, yellow, and green all mean different things with specific restrictions for each state.
If a state is assigned a Red stoplight, then only essential activities are allowed. Essential activities include medical services and supplies, grocery stores, restaurant delivery services, public safety, government social programs, construction, and manufacturing of transportation equipment. Hotels and parks are also limited to a 25% occupancy in the red stage.
States that are designated Orange have a bit more leeway compared to red. Orange means that hotels, restaurants, parks, and gyms are limited to a 50% capacity. Markets and Grocery stores are limited to a 75% capacity, and churches, cinemas, museums, and shopping malls are limited to a 25% capacity.
Yellow states may allow any public space to be open regularly, and indoor public facilities allowed to operate at a reduced capacity. All places will continue to enforce basic preventative measures.
The Green states allow all economic and social activities to be permitted while still exercising recommended preventative measures. Source: U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico
Are Any Airlines Flying To Mexico
Are you a traveler with an itch such as myself who’s curious if any airlines are currently flying to Mexico during this world pandemic?
Here is a chart of current airlines operating flights to Mexico from the U.S. during COVID-19.
|Airlines Offering Flights To Mexico During COVID-19|
What are the CDC recommendations for after traveling?
When I got back from my recent trip to Mexico I had to ask myself; what does the CDC recommend I do after returning home from traveling?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns Mexico is a Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) country and recommends after traveling domestically or internationally, that you continue to practice safe and effective preventative measures such as:
- Wearing a mask
- Keeping a 6-foot distance from others
- Wash and sanitize your hands often
- Watch for any COVID-19 symptoms
CDC has additional recommendations if you may have been exposed to Higher Risk Activities while traveling. Examples of higher-risk activities include being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19.
As well, attending any large social gatherings, being in crowds (restaurants, bars, airports, bus), or traveling on a cruise ship, would all be considered higher-risk activities according to the CDC.
If you have participated in any of these higher-risk activities CDC recommends you:
- Stay home when possible
- Avoid being around people with a high risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19
Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico During COVID-19?
CDC recommends all travelers should avoid any non-essential travel internationally to Mexico. As well, anyone at higher risk for increased illness from COVID-19 should reconsider any travel to Mexico, including essential. CDC wants you to keep in mind some things before traveling to Mexico:
- Mexico is considered HIGH risk for COVID-19
- Medical resources in Mexico may be limited
- Check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health of Mexico or US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country info page for more info on restrictions and entry requirements for Mexico, such as mandatory testing or quarantine
- Policies at your destination may require you to take a COVID-19 test before entry into Mexico. If you test positive, you may be required to quarantine for a period of time, and you may not be able to return to the United States on your scheduled date. Consider getting tested before your trip. Check CDC’s COVID-19 Testing Overview for more information
Our recent trip to Jalisco was a good experience even amidst COVID-19. The curfews in place, at least in Puerto Vallarta, did not affect anything we had planned. We still enjoyed our excursions, we still went to the beach, and we still ate out at restaurants and went shopping at Walmart and other local markets without any hassle.
I noticed that a few places were not operating fully. For example, the Chocolate Museum was open however, the restaurant upstairs was not serving food or drinks like they usually do. Besides the taxi drivers looking bored out of their minds, and the markets being a bit more empty than usual, everyone seemed to be doing their best to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and still, turn a profit operating their business.
I can’t say that I recommend traveling to Mexico during COVID-19. I can say that you should check your destination’s restrictions and entry requirements before traveling, and make a decision based on your findings.
It’s still possible to have an enjoyable trip to Mexico, even amidst a world pandemic, but I will leave that decision up to you to determine if it is worth it.
Please continue to use basic preventative measures, especially if you do decide to travel to Mexico. I recommend you bring your own hand sanitizer, face mask (a couple), and sanitizing wipes to wipe down any common surface areas such as door knobs, light switches, and anything else you may deem necessary to sanitize in your Hotel or AirBnB.
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog, I hope I was able to add value and help you make the decision whether to travel to Mexico or try and wait it out.
Please leave comments and let me know your experience if you have traveled to Mexico during COVID-19.
As always, have fun and stay safe out there.