U.S. restrictions against “non-essential” travel through the country’s land ports of entry with Mexico and Canada will continue for at least another month.
The restrictions have been extended for 30 days each month since they were first implemented on March 21, 2020, and were previously scheduled to expire Jan. 21.
However, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat announced in a tweet late Monday that considering the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico, it had suggested another 30-day extension to the United States.
The announcement followed a familiar pattern, in which Mexico, which has not imposed any cross-border travel restrictions of its own, is first to announce the extended travel limits by saying it had proposed the idea to the United States. Typically, Mexico’s suggestion is followed a day or so later by confirmation from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
However, Wolf abruptly resigned on Monday. So this time, the Department of Homeland Security’s confirmation came from the general @DHSgov Twitter account.
“In order to continue to prevent the spread of #COVID, the US, Mexico, Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Feb. 21,” the tweet said. “We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus.”
In December, Wolf cited “great progress” on a COVID-19 vaccine and said the Trump administration would “reevaluate non-essential travel restrictions again early in the new year.” But the pandemic has shown no sign of abating since then in either country, with the United States and Mexico each posting record daily numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths of late.
On the U.S.-Mexico border, the restrictions primarily apply to people crossing into the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa.
Those limits have had a major impact on the Nogales area, disrupting not only familial and cultural ties to Mexico, but also preventing the crossing of large numbers of Sonoran shoppers who contribute to the local economy.
In its tweet on Tuesday, DHS said it “is working closely with our counterparts in Mexico and Canada to identify appropriate public health conditions to safely ease restrictions in the future and support U.S. border communities.”