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Coronavirus Update - Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

September 4, 2020 > Last updated September 27, 2020

This article addresses the current COVID situation in Mexico, especially the state of Quintana Roo.

If the lack of travel causes you stress, you are not alone. According to the Amex Trendex 2020, an American Express trend report, people miss travel so much that it takes an emotional toll and affects their well-being.

We are receiving emails and questions via social media and notice an increase in requests like:

  • Can I travel to Mexico during COVID

  • What are COVID restrictions in Cancun and Tulum

  • What's the Corona situation in Playa del Carmen

  • Is Chichen Itza open despite COVID

  • Is it safe to travel to Cancun

  • What's new at Cancun airport upon arrival

Our philosophy is, we want our guests to make a well-informed decision and we hope the following post will be helpful.


The numbers are going down!

A Mexico Covid Map and Case Count By The New York Times is confirming the trend we have reported for the first time on August 11th in our blog-post: "First week of decline in daily new cases in Mexico"

According to the NY Times the 14 day average change of daily confirmed cases in Mexico decreased by 23 %.

In the state of Quintana Roo the share of the population is with one case in 132 people.


The current COVID-19 situation is displayed in a color (traffic light) system. The color refers to the increase or decrease of confirmed cases and is updated every Thursday. The respective updates then come into effect on the following Monday.

The map shown above is issued at the federal level, and many states use it as a guideline, but implement their own system, as does the state of Quintana Roo, where the popular resort towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum are located.

The numbers of confirmed cases are declining and the traffic light system will change to yellow on Monday, September 7th in the northern part of the state of Quintana Roo.

The state of Quintana Roo is divided into a northern (yellow) and southern (now yellow as well) area.

The colors are associated with restrictions for the population, but especially for the local economy.

Depending on the color, certain economic sectors may carry out a certain percentage of their activities, or some may not carry them out at all.

The availability of hospital beds is an indicator and is considered as one of the factors when the federal traffic light system is being evaluated.

Today begins the 39th epidemiological week and Mexico has been on a steady decline for 7 weeks. Nationally, 70% of general hospital beds are available and 30% occupied. In beds with ventilators, 76% are available and 24% occupied.

In the state of Quintana Roo (Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos) 75% of general hospitalization beds are available and 25% are occupied.


  • 70% OPENING - Gyms and sports clubs (outdoor areas free. Closed spaces open at 50%)

  • 60% OPENING - Hotels, restaurants, historical sites, theme parks, golf courses

    • Beaches and public parks

    • Theaters and cinemas

    • Shopping Centers & Department Stores

    • Real Estate - Hair and beauty salons

  • REMAIN CLOSED - Schools - Bars, nightclubs, discos, entertainment centers, etc.

Examples for activities and how they will gradually open

Below we have gathered some of the activities and the restrictions which are applied to the different sectors.

Click here to see the official Quintana Roo State Government site with activities [Spanish] and restrictions. The information shall be subject to regular updates according to the epidemiological situation.

What are the COVID Restrictions in Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen?

The state authorities are communicating the following measures in their protocols:

  • healthy distance established at 1.5 meters / 5 feet between each person

  • temperature control at entry points like upon arrival at the airport of Cancun (heat-sensing cameras), venues, parks

  • disinfectant mats for shoes at entrances of buildings

  • hygiene stations with water and soap or alcohol-based disinfectant gel

  • all staff at companies has to wear face masks

  • facemasks are mandatory in public

  • digital information is prioritized over printed information

What is it like going through Cancun airport?

US Embassy has downgraded Mexico Travel Advisory - The United States government has dropped its level 4 ‘Do Not Travel' warning for Mexico.

Back on August 6th, the U.S. removed its global level 4 travel warning but slapped Mexico with an individual ‘do not travel' advisory due to COVID-19.

As of September 8th, the level 4 advisory for Mexico has been downgraded to a level 3.

Marisol Vanegas Perez, Secretary of Tourism in the Quintana Roo state, said that the economic recovery of the sector is progressing slowly but steadily and is expected to reach 60 percent by the end of the year, benefiting more than 450,000 families directly dependent on the activity.

She also pointed out that over 6,500 service providers have achieved coronavirus health certification.

Cancun, the popular seaside resort town for national and international tourists, recorded the highest number of visitors in the last four months, although it is still far from the volume it reached before the restrictions on mobility caused by the coronavirus.

Cancun and Isla Mujeres reported Quintana Roo's best hotel occupancy records in September at 34.1 percent.

What's new at Cancun Aiport?

  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? [No]

  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? [Yes]

  • Health questionnaire

  • Temperature sensors

  • Sanitation foot mats

Stay informed

To stay up to date join our Facebook group "Riviera Maya Lovers".

We are inviting you to Subscribe to our Newsletter in order to be the first to know about any updates. Our latest newsletter had the following topics and was send on Sun, Sep 13, 2020.

  • US Embassy downgrades Mexico Travel Advisory

  • Airlines waive change fees

  • Mexico opens beaches and Mayan ruins

Your and our team's health, safety & peace of mind are our top priority.

Providing a safe and clean environment for our guests and our team is always and always has been a top priority for Kay Tours Mexico.

We continue to uphold our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and want you to feel home and at ease when traveling with us.

Kay Tours Mexico has worked thoroughly on the "4C - Action Plan", which focuses on the safety and well-being of colleagues and guests in a COVID-19 world and beyond. 

The 4 "C's" stand for: ​

  • Commitment 

  • Cleanliness 

  • Care 

  • Comfort

The Commitment includes plans for operational-level health and sanitization.  

The Cleanliness, in addition, is assured by a comprehensive COVID-19 guide for the Kay Tours Mexico team and associated partners, detailing how to protect against virus transmission (including implementation of hand disinfection stations and frequent cleaning of high contact areas) and procedures in case of suspected or confirmed cases among our colleagues or guests.

We Care and believe in responsible and safe travel, with vigilance and follow protocols, which we have developed, taking into account guidelines and information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the 'Safe Travels': Global Protocols offered by the WTTC in combination with guidelines from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and other leading organizations and experts in the tourism industry. Your Comfort, safety and peace of mind is what we took in consideration when working out this plan. We appreciate your trust in our brand and encourage you to contact us should you have any additional questions or concerns.

Visit our COVID-19 UPDATES site to review the 4C - Action Plan and learn more about the steps we are taking to further enhance our existing rigorous protocols and providing our guests a worry-free experience.


In order to adequately monitor the spread of the virus, countries with more widespread outbreaks must carry out more tests. So an important way to understand whether countries are testing adequately is to ask: what percentage of tests confirm a case? What is the positive rate?

There are enormous differences between countries.

Some countries, like Australia, South Korea and many European countries, have a positive rate of less than 1%. They perform hundreds, or even thousands of tests for each case found.

Other countries, such as Mexico, perform only a handful of tests - five or less - for each confirmed case. In countries that perform very few tests per confirmed case, it is unlikely that the tests will be comprehensive enough to find all cases.

The WHO has proposed a positive rate of less than 10% - but preferably less than 3% - as a general guideline for appropriate testing.


Undersecretary of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell admits that Mexico is the country that uses fewer COVID-tests and explains why.

Lopez-Gatell said that the number of tests depends on the suspected cases, as this is the national strategy for controlling the pandemic

During the afternoon conference on Monday, August 24, 2020, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, admitted that Mexico is the country that uses less COVID-19 testing within the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but also explained why.

He elaborated that the tests they used for case confirmation and subsequent reporting were those approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), where PCR* tests measure ribonucleic acid when inserted into the mouth.

  • *Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body's immune response, or antibodies

In addition, it was confirmed that the COVID-19 epidemic is entering a significant phase of decline, with the result that the number of tests used in the country is no longer the same as it was originally.

The head of the health authorities explained that the fewer people show symptoms and are presented as suspect cases, the fewer tests are carried out.

In terms of the correlation between disease control and the number of tests used in the COVID 19 pandemic, López-Gatell cited the example of the United States, which uses more tests and has more confirmed cases as a result.

"The key is to use the evidence correctly and take the right measures to combat it," he concluded.


In general, Quintana Roo seems to be in better shape than in July. The numbers of new confirmed cases are either stabilizing or slowly going down in correspondence to the trend shown in the entire country of Mexico. As reported on September 3rd 2020, the state of Quintana Roo exceeds 10 thousand accumulated cases of COVID-19 and totals today 11,383 accumulated cases.

As of September 20th, 2020 there are an estimated 354 active cases in the state of Quintana Roo.

When is Chichen Itza opening?

Mexico's museums and archaeological sites are planning a gradual opening in accordance with the federal risk traffic light system, starting with open spaces and with appropriate conditions such as social distance, face masks, etc.

The National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) has drawn up strategies for the reopening of cultural and social activities according to the traffic light system, based on a weekly reassessment in relation to the current risk in each state and municipality.

Coba, Tulum and Muyil Chichen Itza will open September 22nd.

What activities can you do right now when staying in Tulum, Cancun and Playa del Carmen?

Snorkeling and other water-related activities in Cenotes and on the reefs are allowed.

We recommend a boat ride in Tulum and observe the ruins from the sea site, or learn more about our return to Akumal Bay, the perfect place to swim with sea turtles. The former overcrowded beach is now a paradise for turtles and snorkelers.

Activities you can do now Mexico

  • Private Cenotes and Zip-lines

  • Reef Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres

  • Whale Shark Encounter

  • Sian Ka'an Wildlife Encounter

  • ATV's & Cliff jumps

  • Monkey Reserve Punta Laguna

  • Snorkeling with turtles in Akumal

  • Coba + Monkey Reserve

  • Tulum + Mayan Village

  • Yacht rental

  • Chichen Itza

We are offering exclusive private transportation included in all our tours.

Are the parks Xcaret and Xel-Ha open now?

In the following overview are the days on which most of the Xcaret parks are open. The hotel Xcaret Mexico is already open since the beginning of July with 30 % of its capacity.

Tourists also have to wear face masks... but not in hotel resorts

Since July 15th, tourists have also been required to wear a face mask. This applies outside of hotels and beaches.

From our own experience, we know that in hotels a face mask is not expected from tourists but by employees. Meanwhile, fines and even prison sentences of up to 36 hours are imposed on locals.

Stay informed

To have some vacation in your everyday life, join our group "Riviera Maya Lovers".

If you like what we are doing follow our Facebook page @kaytoursmexico

We are inviting you to Subscribe to our Newsletter in order to be the first to know about any updates. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to write in the comment section below or send us an e-mail to

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @kaytoursmexico


Where does this data come from? All data comes from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). JHU gathers COVID-19 data from the World Health Organization, the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, and local health organizations.

Confirmed cases The total number of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Deaths The total number of people who have died due to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

New cases The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 since the previous update.

Five-day moving average The average number of new COVID-19 cases for a given day, the two days before that day and the two days after that day. This trend line is used to show patterns more clearly.

*Please note that the content of this website is not exhaustive and is provided solely to assist visitors to this site at this time of disruption on an "AS IS" basis. All information is subject to change without prior notice and at the sole discretion of those who have contributed to this website.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 situation and the responses of those who contributed to this website, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in these pages and cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can you, as a visitor to this website, derive any rights from it.

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