Event: Mexico COVID-19 Update (October 22, 2020)
The number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases reached its peak nationwide by mid-July and began a decrease that continued for nine weeks. This decline stopped by the second week of September and has plateaued or increased slightly ever since. In many states, there has been a considerable increase in the number of cases as well as of hospitalizations. Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Mexico State, Guanajuato, and Jalisco report the highest number of active cases for the preceding two-week period as of October 20. The states reporting the highest rates of hospital occupancy are Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Durango, Nayarit, and Mexico City as of October 17. Mexican health authorities have reiterated calls for people to stay home as much as possible and leave home only for work and essential activities according to the color assigned to each state under the national stoplight system, always following social distance measures, frequent hand hygiene, and mask-wearing. Schools remained closed in nearly all states.
The national stoplight system introduced on June 1 allows for a gradual phase-in of additional economic activities in states and municipalities. The four metrics to determine the four colors that indicate risk level from maximum to minimum (Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green) are the trend in numbers of new cases, hospital occupancy trends, current hospital occupancy rates, and the percentage of positive cases.
Seventeen states are designated “orange” under the federal system between October 12 and 25 (Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, México State, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Querétaro, Sinaloa, Yucatán, and Zacatecas). Under orange, hotels, restaurants, barbershops, open-air parks, and gyms are limited to 50 percent capacity. Markets and supermarkets will operate at 75 percent capacity. Additionally, shopping malls, churches, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events will be limited to 25-percent capacity.
Fourteen states are designated “yellow” under the federal stoplight system between October 12 and 25 (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Sonora, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Tabasco, and Veracruz). Under yellow, all work activities are permitted. Public space may open on a regular basis, while enclosed public spaces can open with reduced capacity. All activities should be carried out with basic prevention measures. People at higher risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms should continue to take extra precautions.
One state is designated “green” under the federal stoplight system between October 12 and 25 (Campeche). Under green, all economic and social activities, including school, are permitted while taking appropriate precautions.
Some states and municipalities have implemented additional restrictions on public gatherings, transportation, business operations, and government operations if health conditions warrant and have developed separate stoplight systems from those at the federal level. Several states and municipalities have imposed curfews and movement restrictions on non-essential activities and have required citizens to wear masks when outside their homes. In some areas, officials may issue fines and arrest and detain individuals found to violate stay at home orders.
Please see additional information on these restrictions and links to state COVID-19 websites in the “Local Resources” section on our website. This information is not comprehensive and is subject to change without notice. Please confirm directly with the local government and other trusted sources for more information on closures and restrictions in different Mexican states and municipalities.
International commercial flight options currently exist in Mexico at a reduced capacity. The number of available flight options is increasing gradually. U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements.
The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative March 21 restricting non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Non-essential travel includes tourism and recreational travel. These restrictions apply to travel in both directions across the border. On October 19, the U.S. and Mexican governments extended the land border travel restrictions until November 21. Mexican border and local authorities are conducting enforcement actions to discourage non-essential travel in some areas. Please see the DHS website or embassy fact sheet for more information.
Passengers and aircrew members arriving at and departing from Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks. Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screenings and/or asked to quarantine voluntarily. Travelers entering Mexico by land from the United States may be denied admission if the purpose of their visit is considered non-essential. We recommend that travelers carry evidence of the essential nature of their visit and evidence of their resident status in Mexico, if applicable. Travelers entering Mexico via land may be subject to temperature checks and additional health screening. Travelers may experience significant delays and face the possibility of being returned to the United States or asked to quarantine in Mexico. At some U.S. ports of entry, operating hours have changed; please review CBP’s Port of Entry wait times web page for additional information.
The availability of hotel rooms and other commercial lodging, limitations on the number of guests within a hotel, and requirements for guests to be engaged in essential business or transit will vary depending on the state’s stoplight color designation and local restrictions. Individuals showing respiratory symptoms will be referred to health authorities. As a reminder, the U.S. government does not pay for lodging or other expenses incurred due to travel disruptions abroad.
The Department of State issued a Level 3 Health Advisory for Mexico on September 8, advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19, and to exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk – read the entire Travel Advisory. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or significantly restricted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19 on August 6.
Actions to Take:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. To modify your enrollment and subscription to alerts, you must log in to STEP.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information, including recommendations for travelers.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Mexico.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States. Check Port of Entry wait times at the U.S. border and visit Customs and Border Protection’s latest updates.
- Learn about the latest status of consular operations at the Embassy, Consulates, and Consular Agencies.
- Call the Mexican Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 information hotline at 800 0044 800 for local information while in Mexico. English-speaking operators are often, but not always, available. Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.
- Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19MX app that provides Spanish-language information about COVID-19 and local health care resources. It includes contact information for health care providers, an interactive diagnostic tool that analyzes reported symptoms and advises whether or not to seek medical care, the location of the nearest health care facility, the latest news related to COVID-19, and advice about how to prevent the spread of the disease. The app is available via the Mexican iOS and Android stores.
- If you or someone you know is facing or has been a victim of domestic or sexual violence while in Mexico, please call 911 for assistance or reach out to a local organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence. U.S. citizens can contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you or the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 for help. We have staff on duty around the clock to assist U.S. citizens with emergencies. Additional resources for victims of crime are available on travel.state.gov.
- For Emergency Assistance for U.S. citizens in Mexico, call (55) 8526 2561 from Mexico or 1-844-528-6611 from the United States.
- The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is located at: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtémoc, 06500, Ciudad de México, Phone: +52-55-5080-2000, Fax: +52-55-5080-2005, E-Mail: ACSMexicoCity@state.gov
- State Department – Consular Affairs: 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Mexico on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.