EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Faced with its own spike of COVID-19 cases, Mexico is asking the U.S. government to extend non-essential travel restrictions through Aug. 21.
“After reviewing the development of the spread of COVID-19, Mexico brought up to the United States the extension for another 30 days of restrictions to non-essential land travel along its common border,” Mexican Ambassador Martha Barcena said Tuesday on Twitter.
She said the restrictions would remain as outlined when implemented on March 21. The non-essential travel rule has been extended monthly since.
Mexico on June 1 began a phased economic reopening, which has backfired in many regions. All but one of its states that border the United States — Chihuahua — remain under a “red” coronavirus threat designation. That means only essential businesses are supposed to be open through compliance has been an issue south of the border.
Mexico has 304,435 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday morning and 35,491 resulting fatalities. Border health experts are concerned the numbers could be higher in reality due to limited testing in Mexico.
In Juarez on Monday, health officials said they’ve experienced COVID-19 spikes after consecutive U.S. holidays: Father’s Day and the Fourth of July.
“Both countries will continue looking to coordinate health actions in the border region,” Barcena said.
The U.S. government is yet to make a pronouncement on the extension of travel restrictions at the Mexican border.
“The restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. land borders will remain in effect until July 21, 2020 unless amended or rescinded,” a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said.
The travel restrictions have hit businesses hard on the U.S. side of the border that rely on Mexican shoppers. The restrictions mean only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can come over from Mexico unless their travel is deemed essential under the guidelines.