Mexico complains of maskless tourists, closes Chichén Itzá

In Jan. 5, 2021, some tourists to Mayan ruins in Tulum wore masks, others not.
(Emilio Espejel / Associated Press)
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As Mexico braces for a surge of Easter Week visitors, authorities in the country’s Yucatan peninsula expressed frustration Friday about tourists not wearing face masks.

The acting police chief of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo patrolled the streets of the resort of Tulum, reminding people to wear masks and criticizing how few people did.

“It is regrettable to see how undisciplined things have become,” said Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez. “It was truly frustrating to see hundreds of people walking around without face masks,” noting that tourists were the worst offenders.

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“It really is embarrassing that we have to get to this point of asking people [to wear masks] when we should be conscious of the risks we face,” he said.

Federal authorities have decided to close the Chichén Itzá Maya ruin site in neighboring Yucatan state from April 1-4 to avoid the possible spread of the coronavirus. The sprawling temple complex is Mexico’s second-most visited archaeological site and usually draws about 1.8 million visitors a year.

And for the second year in a row, Latin America’s most famous reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ will be held without spectators in Mexico City. The multi-day ceremony will be broadcast instead,

The spectacle had drawn about 2 million spectators in recent years, but authorities said such big crowds would be too risky during the pandemic.

The detailed performance has played out in the borough of Iztapalapa since 1843, but was closed to the public in 2020 for the first time in 177 years because of the virus. It was first performed in 1843 after a cholera outbreak threatened the then-rural hamlet.

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