Authorities in Sonora have put an indefinite end to the border checkpoints that were meant to stop non-essential travelers from entering Mexico during the Fourth of July weekend.
Juan Francisco Gim, director of Mexican Customs in Nogales, Sonora, said officials working at the local checkpoints, known as “filtros,” began turning cars away on Saturday and continued until Tuesday.
“The status of those filters right now is that we won’t set up until further notice,” Gim told the NI on Thursday. “What further notice? I don’t know. It could be tomorrow that they tell us to set up again, or it could be that we set up with a permanent infrastructure.”
The checkpoints were mean to protect Sonora from further spread of COVID-19, especially considering the surging number of cases in Arizona. And while many U.S. citizens moved up their holiday plans in light of the travel restrictions and began crossing the border as early as July 2, Gim said authorities still managed to turn away approximately 1,840 cars in the following days.
(El Diario de Sonora, citing a federal immigration official, reported that 190 vehicles had been turned back in Nogales during the three days of operation.)
Given the uncertainty surrounding future travel restrictions in Sonora, Gim advised U.S. travelers to be considerate of the situation and avoid traveling to Mexico.
“Nothing is for certain, but it’s very likely that we will set up the filters again – maybe as a strategy on the weekends,” he said. “Let’s show solidarity in this pandemic situation and let’s not cross to Mexico unless it’s essential.”