Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has reopened with health and safety protocols in place for both local residents and businesses.
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More than 45 hotels have reopened to visitors, and those properties are limiting occupancy to 30 percent. They’ve also modified access to on-site restaurants, pools, and beaches. A second group of hotels will open this month for the summer. The remainder will open in the year’s last quarter—at the start of the destination’s winter high season.
Local officials put all of Puerto Vallarta under quarantine starting in early March. Since then, a multi-phase reopening process has been led by local officials following state, federal and international protocols.
The measures implemented in Puerto Vallarta began at Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport—the destination’s main “filter.” Its implemented many health and safety protocols. Social distancing is being practiced by airport workers; thermal video cameras are being used as people enter the immigration zone, where electronic documentation occurs; and disinfectant mats are used at all airport entrances and exits.
In addition, the city is requiring extensive and continuous sanitization in hotels, public transportation and public spaces. Restaurants must maintain physical distance between tables and patrons. Businesses must place disinfectant mats at entrances. Antibacterial gel is being distributed and temperature checks conducted.
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While Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon waterfront promenade is not yet fully open to the public, access points to its restaurants and shops are open. Bars will remain closed until the destination exits its current phase of the reopening process.
Airline service has begun to take off, too. Mexican airlines are offering flights to such domestic destinations as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana, Aguascalientes and Monterrey.
Internationally, four airlines are now connecting U.S. cities with Puerto Vallarta. Alaska Airlines has daily flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco. American Airlines offers a daily connection from Dallas and Los Angeles. United Airlines operates a daily flight from Houston. Delta Air Lines is expected to restart daily service from Los Angeles Thursday. Other U.S. airlines are waiting for growth in demand, while Canadian carriers await Canadian government approvals.
Despite all this good news and precautions taken, Puerto Vallarta is still experience the fastest rate of infections and deaths by COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, much thanks to the reopening of tourism while Mexico was experiencing its most contagious period.
Hospitals in Puerto Vallarta have been saturated and COVID-19 patients have been transferred outside the city, and state in some circumstances, to meet the needs of the increased cases.
This week after media reports of hospital saturation, Dr. Armando Pérez Oliva, director of the eighth health region in the city, announced that capacity has been increased and current occupancy is now 60% without saturation.
Puerto Vallarta has experienced a steady increase in cases since the reopening of beaches and Father’s Day weekend where overcrowded beaches were observed without social distancing or the use of masks.
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