Restrictions against “non-essential” travel through U.S. land ports of entry are here to stay for at least another month.
The latest extension means restrictions will remain in place through May 21, according to a tweet sent Tuesday morning by the Department of Homeland Security. The restrictions primarily block individuals seeking to cross the border with a tourist visa from entering the country.
“We are guided by science and public health data and engaged in discussions with Canada and Mexico about easing restrictions as health conditions improve,” DHS said in the tweet.
On Monday evening, Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Relations said it was extending its own restrictions on travelers entering the country from the United States based on risk levels in different border states. In reality, the country has announced its own travel restrictions several times over the course of the pandemic, but has done little to enforce any limits at its northern border.
The U.S. travel restrictions were originally implemented in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest extension marks the 14th month they’ll be in place.
Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show that the restrictions have had a considerable effect on travel across the local border.
December is typically among the busiest months for local ports, as families reunite for the holidays and cross the border on shopping trips. In December 2020, the latest month for which data was available, 102,000 pedestrians and 160,000 vehicles crossed the border in Nogales. Those figures represent a considerable drop compared to the 362,000 pedestrians and 275,000 personal vehicles that crossed in December 2019.