As Mexico enters the third wave of the pandemic amid a global resurgence of COVID-19, the federal government of Mexico has revised the criteria it uses to update its traffic light monitoring system to alert residents to the epidemiological risks of COVID-19 and provide guidance on restrictions in each of the country’s states.
The government has revised the “Guidelines for Risk Estimation of the COVID-19 Regional Traffic Light” and reassigned certain health-risk levels and rankings. The government will continue to issue traffic light reports every other week as a four-tiered system. States categorized in red (the strictest category, indicating that only essential activities are permitted) and orange (“high alert,” the second-highest category of strictness) are understood as being on true sanitary alert status. Mexico uses the traffic light system to assess and report on community risk levels, approved sanitary safety measures, and the use of public space.
Sinaloa is the only state in red traffic light status, but this is the first time since the report for February 15–27, 2021, that any state has been federally designated as being in lockdown status. There has also been a significant increase in the number of states in high-alert status, with 15 states in orange, up from 5 in the report for July 5–18, 2021. Only three states—Aguascalientes, Chiapas, and Coahuila—are in green status, indicating a return to the new normal, at which point social and work activities are allowed without restrictions.
The federal government reported that as of July 26, 2021, 48 percent of Mexico’s adult population had been vaccinated, up from 42 percent as of July 16, 2021.
Below is a map for the period of July 26, 2021, through August 8, 2021, indicating the COVID-19 risk level in each of the states and the capital.
This chart presents the traffic light status of each state, and, as applicable, variations between federal and local traffic light statuses based on publications of the federal Ministry of Health and status reports provided by each state. Some of the states use variations on the federal traffic light system. Baja California and Durango are currently the only states that have designated themselves in green status, rather than the yellow status designated by the federal government.
Mexico City Returns to Orange Status
Mexico City, which had been in green status in mid-June 2021 and in yellow since then, is now in orange status. The Mexico City Monitoring Committee, which determines the capital’s traffic light status, did not indicate capacity limits for employers that are returning their employees to worksites. Employers may want to follow federal guidelines and restrict on-site capacity to 30 percent to 50 percent while the capital is in orange status. Employers may also want to conduct on a weekly basis and at their own expense rapid antigen tests or polymerase chain reaction RT-PCR tests (for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus) of at least 20 percent of the personnel attending work on-site.
The Administrative Verification Institute and other Mexico City government agencies will continue to conduct on-site visits to verify that employers are complying with the general and specific sanitary measures for workplace health protection. Authorities may levy fines and/or order the partial or total suspension of the work center for up to 15 calendar days for employers that are found to be noncompliant with the sanitary measures.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.