Mexico City – Border travel restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 between Mexico and the United States have been extended through at least 11:59 pm on January 21, 2021, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations announced in a series of tweets last Friday.
The border travel restrictions, which were to expire on December 21, 2020, apply to non-essential land traffic to and from Mexico and the United States, have been extended every month since the partial closure was first announced on March 21 as a measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The move comes as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths spike in both countries.
As of Friday afternoon, the United States remained the center of the coronavirus pandemic with, according to Johns Hopkins University, the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, more than 15.6 million and nearly 293,000, respectively; while Mexico ranked thirteenth worldwide in the number of cases with more than 1.2 million, and the fourth highest number of COVID-19 deaths at just over 113,000.
While tourists haven’t been permitted to drive into Mexico, flights between the two countries have largely continued since the early days of the pandemic, and thousands of U.S. travelers have been flocking to beach destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancún since hotels and restaurants reopened, albeit with limited capacity, in June.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also announced on Friday that its land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least January 21 amid the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the three countries are working “to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus.”
Of the three countries, on Friday, Canada had seen the fewest COVID-19 deaths with over 13,000 fatalities.
“Non-essential travel” includes trips that are considered tourist or recreational in nature. So, while commercial traffic continues to flow between the three countries, merchants in border cities who rely on cross-border shoppers for their Christmas sales are disappointed.