PUERTO PEÑASCO, Sonora — During March, Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, just like many cities around the world, was forced to close the city due to the pandemic of COVID-19 to residents coming from other places as well as tourists. The closure highly affected their economy.
“Without tourism, this town has no life,” said Adan Muñiz, a taxi driver in Rocky Point.
About 80% of the economy in Peñasco is driven by tourism.
The reopening phases for Rocky Point started about three months ago. The city first open to residents, followed by the reopening of restaurants, hotels and resorts under strict health protocols.
During that time, local businesses implemented measures to prepare their employees to live with the reality of COVID-19.
“Before we get on the bus, the driver won’t let you get on it without a face mask when you get on the bus, you have to put on hand sanitizer and keep social distance. When we get to work, they check our temperature, they give us sanitizer again, spay our shoes with sanitizer as well,” said William Perez who works at one of the golf clubs in Rocky Point.
On June 16, Rocky Point reopened to the tourists, but they had to go through sanitizing tunnels and other health measures to be able to get into the city.
“You have to have a reservation and they are checked on a daily basis. Hotels and resorts give their daily lists of who has reservations and their companions to the people at the checkpoint and that’s how they keep control of who’s coming into Peñasco”, said David Aguirre, who does promotions for different touristic entities.
Rocky Point’s Mayor, Kiko Munro said that the city has had 74 confirmed cases and only eight were active as of Thursday, which give him green light to move on to the next phase.
“We’re opening the beaches on Aug. 1. Which was the last phase in measures and protocols that were set up,” said Munro.
Munro also recommends visiting their website to find information on the measures implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the visits. That includes phone numbers where live representatives can answer questions in Spanish and English.
What to expect when you visit Rocky Point?
On the north entrance to Rocky Point you can find health officials conducting rapid testing “it’s a requirement, will have one person in every five cars who need to be tested,” said Munro.
While the sanitation tunnels are being moved to the beach as of Aug. 1. Before getting into the beach, people will be asked to go through sanitizing tunnels.
“We’ll not allow big crowds,” added Munro. “We'll have local and federal authorities to help us keep social distancing”.
Also, the beach will only be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., only people who are exercising will be allowed at the beach. The beach will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. general purposes.
There is a curfew in place. Everyone must be at their condo, house, apartment, etc., by 10 p.m. every day.