Barred from traveling to many countries, Americans are flocking to Mexico despite the risk of the coronavirus and CDC warnings not to visit the country.
American citizen Sharlea Watkins and her friends, are all in matching neon, sleeveless T-shirts, washing down a few beers at a restaurant overlooking the marina in Cabo San Lucas, one of Mexico’s top three tourist destinations.
Mexico doesn’t require travelers to show proof of a negative COVID test, nor to quarantine upon arrival. So when two of Watkins’ friends decided to tie the knot and wedding venues at home were closed because of COVID, the group went south. Steve Edwards, who builds homes back in Boise, is performing the nuptials.
He had the couple jot down their vows at the bar. Nearly 80% of jobs in Los Cabos depend on tourism. The region shut down for three months at the onset of the pandemic, causing huge losses. Nationwide, tourism took an $11 billion hit. To lure tourists back, Los Cabos officials tout tough safety protocols.
The state’s tourism secretary of Baja California Sur, Luis Humberto Araiza, says safety really does come first. Hotels and restaurants are limited to 50% capacity. Temperatures are taken before entering any stores. And masks are mandatory indoors. Officials are also helping pay for widespread testing of industry employees, making the state second only to Mexico City for COVID testing, says Araiza.
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