On March 11, 2022, we commemorated two years of the pandemic.
Since then, more than 451 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, and at least six million have lost their lives to COVID-19.
For two years, we have been confined, distanced, and obsessed with cleanliness, the news, epidemiology, the search for a vaccine, and taking care of our health. As a result, some of us decided to do everything possible not to get sick. Others resigned themselves to the fact that this would be the case, and many more — essential workers, vulnerable people — had no alternatives.
The virus has changed us forever.
During the pandemic, the Riviera Maya has become a refuge and home for thousands of foreigners and nationals who did staycation or home-office, avoiding the harsh and strict confinement rules of other countries, and many who could not return home. We shared the collective spirit and courage to face the pandemic in an unprecedented situation, regardless of nationality, skin color, religion, or language.
We saw many local businesses closing their doors with sadness, but we were the first to line up at its reopening; consuming local has never been so important. Suddenly, we all understood that helping our neighbors was helping ourselves. Quintana Roo is one of the states that most depends on tourism in the country, so the survival of the local economy was in our hands.
Although the confinement measures in the state were strict, we were able to continue enjoying the freedom to see the sea, get lost in the exuberant jungles of the area, and take the long-awaited breath of freedom. Furthermore, with everyone’s help and commitment, we became one of the states with the lowest rate of hospitalization and mortality in the country and the state with the highest vaccination rate.
On Easter 2021, we opened our doors to the world – 6 feet away and wearing a mask – hoping for a speedy economic recovery, and the world responded. Cancun was positioned as the second most visited destination on the planet, only behind Dubai. More than 12 million visitors between 2020 and 2022 fell in love with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and its white-sand beaches. They were setting a precedent worldwide.
Of course, we will not forget the pandemic, nor should we, but we have resiliently embraced a new normal. Where we greet with an eyes-smile, clean our hands with alcohol, keep our distance, and take care of our health for the collective good.
Little by little, we create a new reality, and if you want to venture out and get away from home for the first time, the Riviera Maya is a great alternative. Maybe the next time we see you, we’ll call you paisano when you decide to stay and live in paradise.