The coronavirus risk level in Acapulco has been downgraded to yellow light “medium” even though the resort city leads Guerrero for confirmed cases.
The federal government announced Friday that the risk level in Guerrero would remain orange light “high” for another two weeks but Governor Héctor Astudillo said Sunday that Acapulco, along with state capital Chilpancingo and the coastal municipality of Zihuatanejo – which rank second and third, respectively, for confirmed cases – would be yellow on the state stoplight map as of Monday and until January 10.
Astudillo said the coronavirus numbers for the three locations allowed the government to take the decision — clearly economically-motivated — to make those three municipalities yellow. The other 78 municipalities in Guerrero will remain orange, he said.
Acapulco and Zihuatanejo are Guerrero’s main tourism destinations while Chilpancingo is the state’s second largest city and an important commercial center.
As a result of their yellow designation, hotels in those cities can operate at 70% capacity whereas those in the rest of the state are limited to a 50% maximum. Public transit in the three yellow municipalities can operate at 60% capacity; services in the rest of Guerrero are limited to 50%.
Astudillo said there is a serious coronavirus problem in Guerrero but added that the state cannot deny its tourism vocation.
“We’re an attractive [tourism] hub and we can’t close the highways so that they [tourists] don’t come. What we can do is take care of ourselves and … take care of others,” he said.
“The most complex thing is finding the balance between health and the economy; of course the most important thing is health,” the governor added.
Some 700,000 tourists were expected to flock to Acapulco over the Christmas-New Year vacation period even before Astudillo announced that hotels could increase their occupancy from 50% to 70%. The resort city is now likely to be even busier given that hotels will have more rooms to offer visitors. Acapulco is especially popular with residents of Mexico City, the country’s coronavirus epicenter, heightening the risk of transmission over the holidays.
Face masks are mandatory in Guerrero in open-air and enclosed public spaces but enforcement will be difficult on busy beaches and bustling streets and restaurants.
The southern state has recorded just over 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including almost 11,000 in Acapulco, more than 4,600 in Chilpancingo and almost 1,600 in Zihuatanejo. Guerrero’s official Covid-19 death toll is 2,526.
• Another state gearing up for an influx of tourists is Baja California Sur (BCS). Authorities there have made the use of face masks mandatory in all public places and workplaces while meetings and gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited.
People who violate health rules face fines and/or other sanctions such as orders to complete community work.
BCS has the highest number of active cases in Mexico on a per capita basis with 108.5 case per 100,000 residents. The state currently has 990 active cases, according to Health Ministry estimates.
It has recorded 16,377 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 738 Covid-19 deaths.