Mexico

Mexico beaches packed for the holidays could spur COVID-19 shutdowns

TULUM, Mexico — The friends from Jackson, Mississippi, relaxed on lounge chairs dug into a white sand beach and romped in the turquoise Caribbean waters, grateful for a break from the pandemic winter in the United States.

They were among tens of thousands of American tourists who descended on Mexico’s glittering Caribbean beaches at the close of 2020 and start of this year. Quintana Roo state, the country’s tourism crown jewel, home to Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Tulum, received 961,000 tourists during that stretch — nearly half from the U.S. — down only 25% from the previous year.

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Americans have been escaping to Mexico to avoid COVID-19 restrictions back home. Now Mexico is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases.

mexico tourists
A beach in Cancun, Mexico, on Tuesday. Alberto Valdez / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images (edited)
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have flocked to Mexico to vacation or to settle, according to multiple reports.

  • In November, more than half a million Americans traveled to Mexico, The New York Times reported.

  • The influx of Americans has been partly due to relaxed restrictions at the Mexican border: While many countries require proof of a negative coronavirus test or a quarantine upon arrival, Mexico does not ask for either.

  • But the influx has contributed to a surge in COVID-19 cases in

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