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Veracruz Opens To Tourism Despite Pandemic 

The state lowered its restrictions, the Mexican hotspot hopes to welcome visitors to its beaches in peak season. 

The state of Veracruz, Mexico, eased its COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of the Holy Week and is ready to receive thousands of tourists for the holiday.

Mexico manages its lockdown with a stoplight code.

The red light marks the most dangerous moments and total lockdown. With the epidemiological stoplight marking green, tourists are ready to visit historical sites, practice adventure sports, enjoy the beaches and discover arts, traditions and food.

“In Veracruz, we like to visit the pier, have sherbets, go to San Juan de Úlua and the beach, of course. I live in the State of Mexico, and I stay, along with my family, up to six days in the city,” said Juan Piceno Ramírez, a recurrent tourist.

With the epidemiological stoplight marking green, downtown Veracruz awaits the arrival of thousands of tourists. (Héctor Carrera/Unsplash)

Veracruz is one of the most visited places in Mexico. It is the fifth state in the country with the largest beaches and has a vast mountainous area and impressive reefs. Located in central Mexico, it is easier to reach than other popular destinations and has a vibrant nightlife.

“I like Veracruz because it is a super cheap place, unlike Cancun, which is farther away, and you need a lot of money to enjoy it,” Piceno Ramírez said.

In the 2019 spring holiday season, Veracruz received more than 1 million tourists in three days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The revenue for those days amounted to over $3 million.

With more than 450 miles of coastline, Veracruz offers tourists a great variety of fish and seafood. (Jarritos-Mexican Soda/ Unsplash)

Veracruz’s hotels registered 3 percent occupancy in the worst moment of the pandemic, with a consequential loss of jobs. The government is taking the current measures in the hopes of a better season. It considers tourism a medium-to-low-risk activity, as long as health protocols are in place.

“We are close to the tourist area of Villa del Mar, Veracruz. So we expect a significant number of diners,” said María Villegas Pinto, the Camarón Loco restaurant’s manager. “The restaurant has all the sanitary measures, including social distancing,” she said.

After a year of lockdown, tourists are ready to have fun and have started to arrive at the port.

“For several weekends, we had many tourists, both local and national,” said Víctor González Azamar, the manager of the Buchacas restaurant in the tourist area of Villa del Mar.

“We hope the beach is full, despite the pandemic. We use face masks, hand sanitizer and the tables are separated at the beach. We hope that people come to have a good time.”

Veracruz has had over 8,000 deaths related to COVID-19. To prevent that number from rising, the government recommends tourists and locals continue to use face masks, avoid crowded places, use hand sanitizer, include fruits and vegetables in their diets, practice physical activity and visit the doctor if they have any symptoms.

Those who do not feel safe traveling can visit the beach next year.

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Fern Siegel)