Spring break: For Cancún employees, it is their cash or their well being

American tourists who rub against the rules of social distancing and are impatient with the introduction of coronavirus vaccines are returning to Cancun.

William Cruz can’t decide whether to welcome them or worry about a new wave of coronavirus cases.

“Should gringos come here?” asked the father of two children. Who is waiting for tables in the popular tourist area of ​​the city.

He knows he needs her badly.

He was forced to close a beer business he owned after revenue collapsed last year. Does he want outsiders to come to Cancun?

Cruz answers his own question. First he says, “I would say no … because you are risking infecting your family and us.”

Then he thinks about what it would mean to lose another job. “So let her come,” he said, laughing at the contradiction. “What I think most of all is the money to bring something home.”

Beach goers hit the sand and surf in Cancun.

James Hayes, 46, and Anthony Rega, 43, of New Jersey pose for a portrait at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort on March 20.

Visitors speak to a server at the Mandala Beach Club, a popular tourist destination.

Tourists pose for photos at the Forum By the Sea shopping mall.

Beach goers relax in Cancun.

TOP LEFT: James Hayes, 46, and Anthony Rega, 43, of New Jersey pose for a portrait at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort on March 20. ABOVE RIGHT: Visitors are talking to a server at the Mandala Beach Club, a popular tourist destination. BOTTOM LEFT: Tourists pose for photos at Forum By the Sea Mall. BOTTOM RIGHT: Beachgoers relax in Cancun.

TOP: Beachgoers go to the sand and surf in Cancun. TOP LEFT: James Hayes, 46, and Anthony Rega, 43, of New Jersey pose for a portrait at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort on March 20. ABOVE RIGHT: Visitors are talking to a server at the Mandala Beach Club, a popular tourist destination. BOTTOM LEFT: Tourists pose for photos at Forum By the Sea Mall. BOTTOM RIGHT: Beachgoers relax in Cancun.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have sponsored Americans avoid any trip to Mexico. More than 2 million coronavirus cases have been detected in the country to date, and Mexico has the third highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the world.

According to Mexico’s four-level, color-coded “traffic light” system, the state of Quintana Roo is classified as phase yellow. Hotels and restaurants are allowed to open, but they are 60 percent busy, and nightclubs must be completely closed.

But with tourists apparently wanting to keep partying, economic pressures make Cancun difficult to think about turning away visitors.

Anyeli Rondon, 17, will receive a coronavirus test in Cancun on March 19 before returning to Venezuela.

Anyeli Rondon, 17, will receive a coronavirus test in Cancun on March 19 before returning to Venezuela.

Tourism accounts for 87 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. “So if something happens to tourism, it happens to all of us,” said Marisol Vanegas, Quintana Roo tourism secretary.

The city recorded more than 6 million tourists in 2019. That number fell to nearly half in 2020 as countries closed because of the pandemic, Vanegas said.

But the Tourists are back This year, Vanegas is forecasting 5 million arrivals in 2021.

According to Vanegas, many of these visitors are American, with visitors from Texas topping the list.

“The reason is that North Americans cannot travel to Europe,” said Vanegas. “Many of the airlines are rerouting flights to Cancun as an alternative.”

A man pushes luggage in Cancun’s hotel zone.

Visitors crowd elevators at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort.

A worker sets up tables for a seaside wedding reception.

Staff greet the guests in the Mandala Night Club.

Visitors stroll through a touristy area known as the Hotel Zone.

TOP LEFT: Visitors are pushing elevators at the Grand Oasis Cancún Resort. Above right: A worker sets up tables for a wedding reception by the sea. BOTTOM LEFT: Employees greet the guests in the Mandala Night Club. BOTTOM RIGHT: Visitors walk through a touristy area known as the Hotel Zone.

TOP: A man is pushing luggage in Cancun’s hotel zone. TOP LEFT: Visitors are pushing elevators at the Grand Oasis Cancún Resort. Above right: A worker sets up tables for a wedding reception by the sea. BOTTOM LEFT: Employees greet the guests in the Mandala Night Club. BOTTOM RIGHT: Visitors walk through a touristy area known as the Hotel Zone.

The economic boom poses a health risk for workers, especially in some overcrowded nightclubs on Kukulcán Boulevard that stay open by serving food and therefore technically qualify as restaurant bars.

Rigoberto Trujillo, 32, a security guard at a nightclub on the tourist strip, says he is worried about contracting the virus but is even more worried about being out of work.

In the early days of the pandemic, his hours were shortened to a few days a week. With the arrival of the spring break, he’s back to full-time. But his fear of the virus remains.

“We’re trying to provide good service,” he said. “I want this service to continue, so I have to take care of myself too.” Every evening he takes off his work clothes before entering his house and then takes a shower before greeting his family.

Guests cheer for a mariachi band at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort.

Guests cheer for a mariachi band at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort.

On one final evening, night owls – many exposed – grabbed a popular nightclub on Kukulcán Boulevard. Masked security guards patted maskless tourists before joining at least 100 others.

Scantily clad dancers appeared in feathered headgear and iridescent face masks. When the show was over, house music played and revelers flooded the dance floor. Masked waiters walked through the crowd with trays of drinks.

Hundreds of partygoers lined up across the street to watch an indoor cabaret show. A representative from the club said the arena holds 1,500 people and is 40 percent full.

Dancers perform on stage in a Cancun nightclub.

A member of staff checks the temperature of the guests at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

Patrons watch masked performers in the Congo Bar.

A staff member gives a guest a chance at Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

A worker cleans while clerks and party-goers dance at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

TOP LEFT: A member of staff checks the temperature of the guests at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco. Above right: Patrons watch masked performers in the Congo Bar. BOTTOM LEFT: An employee gives a guest a chance at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco. BOTTOM RIGHT: A worker cleaning while clerks and party goers dance at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

TOP: Dancers perform on stage in a Cancun nightclub. TOP LEFT: A member of staff checks the temperature of the guests at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco. Above right: Patrons watch masked performers in the Congo Bar. BELOW LEFT: An employee gives a guest a chance at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco. BOTTOM RIGHT: A worker cleans while clerks and party goers dance at the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

The state government has strictly enforced partial capacity in restaurants across the state, and hotels have limited capacity – some businesses have closed for disregarding the measures.

But it seems that this Cancun party strip club has found a way around the restrictions.

The tourist-filled nightclubs have not escaped Miriam Cortés, president of the Quintana Roo Vacation Club Association.

“Despite all the evidence, the authorities did not act. It’s not like it’s hidden. You walk down the street and see it. You see it every day, ”she said of the clubs full of tourists. “We are outraged.”

She said she was concerned about service industry workers in compromised conditions. “But we’re also concerned that people can eat,” she said. International tourists returning to some countries such as the US are required to provide a negative test before boarding their home flights.

And if an international traveler tests positive for the coronavirus in Cancun, many hotels promise to offer a two-week quarantine stay for free. However, the quarantine is not strictly enforced – and even some tests have been questioned.

In a case in Cancun almost two weeks ago it was found that a non-accredited laboratory had given incorrect coronavirus tests up to 44 Argentine tourists.

Mexican authorities said the tourists had negative tests before boarding a plane to Argentina. When they got to their destination, the tourists were given another test and all 44 were positive for covid.

Bartenders prepare for visitors to come to the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

Bartenders prepare for visitors to come to the Coco Bongo Show and Disco.

Ellie Langdon, a 19-year-old student from Minnesota, had visited one of the clubs on the party strip the night before. She said the restrictions in the United States are excessive.

“If I’m not sick, I won’t put my whole life on hold,” she said. “You should come here. And you should have the best time and get your money’s worth, because it’s vacation and you won’t come to Cancun and not live it.”

She did not intend to be quarantined when she returned home.

Anthony Rega, a 43-year-old New Jersey mortgage broker who was on vacation with a friend, said he, too, went to the clubs on the Strip. “Everyone was there on top of each other,” he said of partiers who did not observe social distancing.

He said he hadn’t seen quarantine for two weeks as long as he wasn’t feeling sick.

“If after a day or two I feel okay – obviously I got a negative test home – I’ll think it’s clear to sail from there.”

A discarded mask is immersed in a pool in the Grand Oasis Cancún.

A discarded mask is immersed in a pool in the Grand Oasis Cancún.