Covid Today in Cozumel

It’s pretty clear that Covid is not going to go away. Who knows what the future actually holds. Regardless, we must live with it. This post is designed to keep you informed as to the current state of affairs on the island.

Is Covid “bad” on the island? This is a question I see often on the various Cozumel FB groups. There is more than one way to answer that question, though. The easiest answer is to say: No. We do not have a massive outbreak currently happening. However, it is important to look at the bigger picture.

Cozumel is a small island, but the population is nearing 100,000. The primary industry here is tourism. So, when Covid first hit, the island was literally locked down. There were curfews as early as 5:00 PM, only one person from a family could go into the grocery store, and we were only allowed to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, or hospital. All unnecessary business were shut down. It was extreme.

As time progressed, it was ultimately more than 18 months before the majority of the island’s residents were able to return to work. Remember? Tourism is the primary employer! No cruise ships, no tourists, no shops open, no work. This meant that there was a tremendous need for community kitchens so that families could eat. There were many of them that people on the island and abroad supported. It was bleak.

It is also important, in answering this question, for people to realize the state of medical care on the island. The vast majority of locals cannot afford any type of medical care, even at the social security hospital. This means if they contract Covid, their family members will most certainly get it, and no care is readily available. It was bleak in the midst of the outbreak! Many died from their symptoms. In addition to the financial aspect, the hospitals here are small, maybe 15-20 beds each. Occupancy was a real issue.

So, let’s move forward to today now that you know the reality of the island. On Mexico’s stoplight rating system, we are currently GREEN. That means everything is open. This is great for tourists and residents alike! Masks are no longer required while walking along the streets. However, when you go into most businesses and restaurants, you will be asked to put on a mask. This is more to protect the locals, but it’s also to protect you. If you unknowingly come here on vacation with Covid, you could single-handedly start a dangerous chain reaction. Don’t laugh, people test positive a LOT before leaving the island!

Having said all of this, we all want tourists to return and support the local businesses, of which there are many. Tip well – your waiters were out of work for a very long time and are trying to recover. And, please, respect the locals and wear your mask when requested to do so. It is a small price to pay to protect our residents, not to mention the fact that it helps preserve this paradise where you love to vacation!

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