First, we would like to open this recommendation with the statement that Puerto Vallarta does not have any reported cases of the coronavirus.
Under careful thought, this publication recommends that anyone with plans to visit Puerto Vallarta through the months of March and April cancel their travel plans and follow recommendations to stay home and suspend all non-essential travel.
We know that no one wants to talk about the coronavirus in our community, we want to believe that our air is magic and a disinfectant of germs. The city government and hotel associations are working overtime trying to develop new ways to tempt people to travel to our shores amid a pandemic, instead of seeking ways to protect the community and asking travelers to reconsider visiting momentarily. It’s a harsh reality of politics in our area, tourism over public safety. Cities around the world have come to grips with the reality, this is not a time for encouraging travel, and we hope that Puerto Vallarta doesn’t need to see coronavirus in our community to force local government to change their position.
While there are no known cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) reported in Puerto Vallarta at this time, our recommendation is based on keeping the virus from entering our community, or being worse than needed, from national and international travelers visiting Puerto Vallarta.
We are confident that the pandemic will reach the shores of Puerto Vallarta within a matter of time, however, our recommendation is to flatten the curve, limit the number of infected, and to return to normal life at a faster pace. There are currently two cases of coronavirus in our State, but it is suspected that the numbers are much higher. Puerto Vallarta continues with its schedule of events and festivals, encouraging large gatherings of people. So it’s inevitable.
PVDN understands the impact on tourism and the lives of those who depend on tourism for their survival, that is why making this recommendation is heartbreaking for us on a personal level.
This publication owns several tourism websites for Puerto Vallarta and Mexico, personally, our income depends on tourism, so the decision to recommend a stop in the flow of tourism is also personal for PVDN. What we will do is work on our travel websites, improve them, make them more appealing to travelers, so that in the upcoming season we have an advantage. That is what all business owners could focus on, to make up for losses now. There is a time where the public health of our citizens should outweigh the local tourism industry, that time is now.
What we know is that the government of Mexico isn’t taking COVID-19 as seriously as other countries. Just yesterday they continued with Mexico’s largest music festival bringing tens of thousands of people together for two days of music. The government has misinformed the public, denied reports from the United States that a coronavirus patient traveled to Mexico, and visited Puerto Vallarta, on a cruise ship, although passenger logs showed he had visited Mexico and other people on the cruise tested positive. The Mexican President insists that COVID-19 isn’t serious and a hoax created by the conservative party to end his presidency. Taking a position that the U.S. President was in just one week ago.
ASYMPTOMATIC PEOPLE COULD BE DRIVING THE PANDEMIC
Spring break is quickly approaching and thousands of students, national and international, flock to our beaches to enjoy their school break. Unfortunately, monitoring the temperatures of individuals at our ports of entry is not an effective test for the coronavirus.
Young people, such as those who would travel for Spring break, are more likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they are hosts to the virus and contagious, but without any symptoms, including without fever. Recent studies have suggested that asymptomatic individuals could be driving the pandemic.
Puerto Vallarta is also home to thousands of retirees and snowbirds, those who would be considered high-risk, the ones who will be most vulnerable if thousands of people were to disembark in Puerto Vallarta with a handful of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus. It only takes one asymptomatic individual on a six-hour flight to Puerto Vallarta to put an entire flight at risk and arriving with dozens more infected people who can spread the virus in our community and return home unaware, because only symptomatic people are being tested.
THE EFFECT ON TOURISM
PVDN understands that calling for a six-week ban on travel to Puerto Vallarta is damaging to tourism, and our local economy and residents. However, we understand if we can control the curve of the virus by limiting travel to our area for six-weeks, it will allow our community to rebound faster.
Puerto Vallarta is only eight-months away from travelers booking their vacation for next year’s winter months, the months that our economy depends on, and keeps our businesses operating during the summer season. If the headlines are the massive number of infections in Puerto Vallarta (or Mexico in general) during the summer, we won’t have time to recover our reputation or confidence of travelers before the next travel season. Our area can afford to lose the ending weeks of the travel season this year, but many businesses cannot survive the full year with the impact of a pandemic.
THERE IS NO REASON TO PANIC
The mortality rate of the coronavirus at this time is ten times that of the seasonal flu, however, you are more likely to be infected with the seasonal flu than you are to be infected with the coronavirus. Only about 5% of suspected cases of the virus test positive. Those numbers could change if we don’t follow recommendations to stay at home and avoid all nonessential travel, a driving factor behind our recommendation to stay home. The seasonal flu season started months before the coronavirus outbreak, so without proper measures, there is the possibility of the infection rate climbing, meaning an increase in deaths from COVID-19.
The concern in the medical field is that COVID-19 is new, a lot is still unknown, and there is no vaccine at this time. About half of the world’s population currently receives a flu vaccine each year, without that vaccine, millions more would be infected each year and tens of thousands more deaths, that is the concern with any new unknown virus.
Currently, there is no need to panic over the coronavirus, we are still at a point in the pandemic that it can be controlled by changes in our social life. Our goal is to take advantage of this time in the pandemic to encourage those social changes so that COVID-19 does not progress to a level where panic is justified, but we are not there yet in Mexico. With the right controls, we can avoid the situation being seen across Europe today.
The recommendations being made are not because there is a cause for panic, it is to prevent our communities from reaching that phase of the pandemic. Be smart today, stay safe tomorrow.
We ask that people do not panic buy in the grocery stores, this is a time to think about your community as a whole. If you buy all the hand sanitizers on the shelf, you leave thousands of other people without an important tool and you put them at risk. There is no reason to leave your entire community without bread, milk, water, and toilet paper. Think about your neighbors and community.
Don’t buy more than you need. Two weeks of supplies are sufficient if we all take this seriously and follow recommendations to stop the spread of the virus.
If you are younger and at a lower risk, check in with your elderly neighbors. See if they need something from the grocery store or medications from the pharmacy so the most vulnerable people can limit exposure to large crowds in the store and sick people in the pharmacy.
Follow the Coronavirus 5 Steps:
- HANDS Wash them often
- ELBOW Cough into it
- FACE Don’t touch it
- FEET Stay more than 3ft apart
- FEEL sick? Stay home
We would like to close in reminding everyone that as of today there are no reported cases of the coronavirus in Puerto Vallarta. We would like to keep it that way, or minimize the impact of any cases that might be reported in the future. Our call to not visit Puerto Vallarta for six-weeks is a preventative measure for the people that live and work in our community.