Across Mexico fear of a coronavirus outbreak has towns shutting off access to outsiders and erecting blockades in the hope that isolation will keep the deadly virus out of their communities.
Visitors have been advised they are not welcome in places like Tecolutla, Zongolica, Tuxpan and Tamiahua in Veracruz; San Javier, Todos Santos, San Juanico and Mulegé in Baja California Sur; Sayulita in Nayarit; Santa Clara in Sonora; Solferino, Holbox and Chiquilá in Quintana Roo; San Juan Bautista, Oaxaca; Ocozocuautla, Chiapas; Río Lagartos, Yucatán; and Samalayuca, Urique and General Cepeda, Coahuila.
Many of these towns simply do not have the medical infrastructure necessary to care for coronavirus victims.
In Mulegé, a town of about 3,000 located midway up the Baja Peninsula, the mayor warned that residents who were irresponsible enough to take a vacation during the coronavirus crisis would not be welcomed back home until the danger of infection has subsided.
Further south on the peninsula, residents of Todos Santos took it upon themselves to close both northern and southern access roads into their town, blocking the roads with vehicles and hazard tape. Food and other supplies are still welcome in this Pueblo Mágico, or Magical Town. Tourists are clearly not.
In Tecolutla, a resort town on the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz, the local government issued a statement warning that “for security reasons and to ensure the health of all, people and tourists are informed that vehicles and foreigners may not enter this municipality as part of coronavirus preventative measures. We appreciate your understanding and support, please postpone your trip, we will be waiting for you another time.”
In Huatulco, Oaxaca, residents blocked access to the airport using cars, tree trunks and large rocks, hoping to send a message to airlines to stop bringing tourists into their town. After one person in Huatulco was diagnosed with coronavirus, police closed access to Santa María Colotepec two hours up the road. Similarly, 26 other towns in Oaxaca have shut down access to non-residents.
The country currently has close to 3,500 coronavirus cases and has recorded nearly 200 deaths.