EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The governments of Mexico and the United States are extending non-essential land travel restrictions through Jan. 21. The restrictions have been in place since March 21 to limit the cross-border spread of COVID-19.
“We are working closely with Mexico and Canada to keep essential trade and travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a tweet.
But he hinted those restrictions could be modified once people get vaccinated.
“As this administration continues to make great progress on a vaccine for COVID-19, we will reevaluate non-essential travel restrictions again early in the new year.”
Likewise, Mexico says several states remain coronavirus hot spots.
“After reviewing developments in the spread of COVID-19 and because several states are on ‘orange’ threat level, Mexico has proposed to the United States the extension of non-essential land travel restrictions on our common border,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry also tweeted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also are still discouraging travel to Mexico.
Cross-border vehicle traffic at ports of entry like El Paso, Texas has fallen substantially since the restrictions were put in place. U.S. merchants who used to rely on Mexican shoppers report a dramatic drop in sales. Commercial traffic has remained about the same, and in some cases increased slightly.
But on the Mexican side, residents complain that no one is stopping U.S. residents who cross into Mexico to visit family members or shop.
“Why, then, are people from over there (the United States) coming in without restrictions and walking around as if nothing were going on?” asked Mexico City columnist Fernando Hernandez.