A girl walks past a store on Morley Avenue in downtown Nogales on Thursday. The downtown shopping district was largely deserted, much as it’s been since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and the U.S. government restricted non-essential travel through land ports of entry with Mexico. This week, the Biden administration announced that that restriction will be lifted in November.

News that the U.S. government plans to ease its travel restrictions at land ports of entry rippled quickly through the Ambos Nogales community this week, with some residents and business owners expressing cautious optimism that the promised change will bring a long-awaited boost to the local economy.

“They’ve been waiting for a long time for (the ports) to reopen,” said Maria Contreras of Rio Rico, one of the few shoppers in Nogales’ downtown commercial district on Thursday.


People walk toward downtown Nogales after crossing the border from Mexico at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry. Pedestrian traffic through the port was light on Thursday morning, though restrictions that have prevented non-essential cross-border travel at U.S. land ports of entry will be loosened in November, the government announced this week.


Border Patrol agents chat with CBP officers through the meshing at the nearly traffic-free Morley Avenue border crossing early on the afternoon of March 22, 2020. Restrictions that went into effect the day before kept out many of the visa-holding Mexican shoppers who normally cross through the port into downtown Nogales. Within days, the Morley Avenue pedestrian crossing was closed down, and there's no definitive word as to when it might re-open.

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