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Looking Covid-19 In The Eye…Hey, I’m A Traveling Man

Steve Leland recaps the COVID-19 safety protocols he encountered while on a multi-week trip through Mexico.

As friends cried out to me “are you crazy?”, I briefly contemplated that they might be onto something. With a pandemic raging throughout the world, why would anyone take flight from the safety of home base and travel?

In my case FOMO was remedied with a CTA and the YOLO mantra. While you social media novices google that, let’s just say that in my case travel has always been a magic cure. It’s what I’ve always done, but it’s not that easy to do right now with entry to so many countries denied to American travelers. I  thank all of you that traveled vicariously with us on our four part, eight hotel, six flight Mexican journey here at Porthole Cruise and hope it inspired some to travel again.

Establishing your travel comfort zone during this challenging time is strictly a personal choice, but to provide a dose of confidence building, below is a report on the precautions that our south of the border neighbors have taken.

I briefly shared some observations I made on air travel in my Travel Jeopardy post, and while those rules remain somewhat fluid they are likely here to stay for awhile. What follows is more on what health safety precautions were like in specific destinations.

Flying to or from Mexico requires that passengers complete a Mexican form that essentially asks where you have been in the last 14 days and if you have any symptoms of the virus.  Filling in the form generates a certificate that clears you to pass through security and board the plane. Temperature screenings on arrival in the country are completed with both hand held devices and stationary cameras.  

All taxi drivers wear masks and visitors are “asked” to do the same. In the Rivera Maya both taxi drivers and passengers are scanned before even entering the hotel grounds. The process is repeated as you enter the hotel along with an obligatory squirt of hand sanitizer. Every staff member in the hotel is required to wear a mask at all times. Check in is completed with sanitized pens and credit cards are wiped clean before handing them back. 

Mexico has taken an interesting approach that I have yet to see in the U.S.. Every entryway, (emphasis on every) whether it be a hotel, a restaurant or even a shop there is a floor mat filled with a shallow layer of disinfectant that must be stepped in before entering the building.  Many places have one way in and another way out.

As a general rule social distancing is respected in the places we visited with the exception of a hotel in Los Cabos where pool games slightly skirted the mandate. Bustling 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen was slightly more relaxed on mask wearing but the stores themselves were very strict about entry with temperature checks at every door.

In order to enter or leave the main square of San Miguel de Allende, everyone must walk through an inflated gateway emitting a continual organic sanitizing mist. Mask wearing was universally respected with temperature screenings and required hand sanitizing in every shop and restaurant. Masks are always worn by waiters and shop attendants. Restaurant menus for the most part are accessed by QR – reader apps

All in all I was quite impressed with protocols. In fact, there are far more controls and precautions than we have at home. I’ve yet to have my temperature taken anywhere in Florida.

If there are any positives to take away from these moves it’s that they instill confidence that someone cares.  Maybe improving our own screening protocols could replace blanket travel bans and once we accept the idea that the solution is a collective responsibility, we might get this world back to traveling again.

Let us know your comments!