On Oct. 26, authorities in Mexico have amended the four-tier color-coded state-level system as part of the country's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The system, which goes from the lowest risk "green level" to the highest risk "red level," enables authorities to monitor disease activity at the state level and implement localized restrictions accordingly.

At the green level, authorities allow all businesses and activities to operate, while urging residents to maintain social distancing and take enhanced health measures. In-person lessons in schools may resume as well. The state of Campeche will be at the green level until at least Nov. 2.

At the yellow level, authorities allow nonessential businesses to operate with more liberal capacity restrictions than at the orange level, depending on the sector and/or regional government's specifications. Restaurants, personal care services, and lodging businesses may operate at 50-percent capacity. Cinemas, theaters, cultural facilities, malls, public parks, places of worship, and professional sports and gyms may operate at 35-percent capacity. The following states are at the yellow level through at least Nov. 2:


  • Chiapas, Guanajuato, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sonora, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz


At the orange level, authorities allow nonessential businesses to open with capacity limits. Markets and supermarkets can operate at up to 75-percent capacity. Lodging businesses, restaurants, and personal care services can resume operations at a reduced 50-percent capacity. Shopping malls, places of worship, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events should be limited to 25-percent capacity. The following states are at the orange level through at least Nov. 2:


  • Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Ciudad de Mexico, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Luis Potosi, Michoacan, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Queretaro, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Zacatecas.


Only essential businesses and services may operate in states designated in the red category. Hotels are only available to critical workers, and occupancy is limited to 25 percent. Parks may open at 25-percent capacity. Residents are encouraged to remain inside their homes, except to perform essential tasks. Residents must wear protective face coverings whenever in public. No state is at the red level.

The current closure of the nation's land border with the US for all nonessential travel remains through at least Nov. 21. Recreational boat travel also remains banned. The measure has been in place since March under a mutual agreement between the two countries. Cargo transport between the two countries is exempt. Officials in Mexico continue to advise residents to avoid all international travel.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Mexico are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.


Follow all official instructions. Abide by national and regional health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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