Some people have realized that life will not be the same post-Covid, while others pine for things to get “back to normal.” It is very likely that what we are living now is the normal we can expect in the upcoming future. So, what to expect if you’re planning on visiting Yucatán in the next year or so?
From the moment you clear customs and immigration at the airport and notice that you have only one exit option and everyone is wearing a mask, you realize things have changed.
Freedom of movement has been somewhat curtailed and is much more evident especially in the larger urban centers where restaurants are subject to complying with limited seating/occupancy regulations. Bars and Cantinas that once thrived on late-night revelry are – temporarily at least – a thing of the past. A curfew, which restricts vehicular traffic from 11 pm to 5 am, instituted at the height of the pandemic, continues until further notice. On the plus side, it is a lot quieter for those folks who need their beauty sleep!
Attractions are also subject to the limitations on how many people can be in any one place which is not a bad thing, unless it’s Sunday and you are trying to get into Uxmal where the allowed number of people on the site is limited to 200 persons at a time. This makes for huge lineups as it is still the only site open on the Puuc Route, the others shut for the time being.
Even in out-of-the-way places, we have become accustomed to having a stranger point a plastic pistol at our bodies to check our body temperatures while squirting alcohol gel in our outstretched palms. At the same time, we try to accommodate our large feet into tiny mats filled (or not) with some sort of liquid.
Regarding masks: the subject of much controversy in countries like the US where obstinate objectors insist that obligatory mask-wearing is an infringement on their individual rights, you’ll see much less resistance in Yucatán. Here, almost everyone uses them without question even when it seems superfluous, such as at outdoor sites like Uxmal. Although some people’s motivation might be to avoid a scolding by some official, rather than protecting their health.
Finally, until we have some sort of internationally recognized identification or “vaccination passport” as well as a standardized test, we will still need to get uncomfortable swabs up our noses before taking a flight or a cruise to determine whether or not we are Covid-free. Over the last few months, these tests, which must be scheduled and programmed to time with your departure, are now much more widely available and relatively easy to have done. Some laboratories in Mérida even come directly to your rental or hotel to perform them. Printable results are then sent electronically to your email address within hours.
The continuing fluidity of measures taken, then discontinued, then reinstated once more, creates a climate of uncertainty among those who want to have things as they once were. It is now incumbent on all of us to be more flexible, to realize that things have changed, and adapt to a new way of life and travel.
If you are planning on traveling to Yucatán or elsewhere during the next few months, please be mindful of the measures being implemented for your safety as well as that of the local population.
Editorial by Ralf Hollmann
A Yucatecan born in Germany and raised in Canada, with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Ralf has experience in leisure tourism, journalism, research, editing, writing, and creative writing. He’s also a musician.
Photography by Ralf Hollmann for use in Yucatán Today.
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