EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The governments of Mexico and the United States are discouraging non-essential border travel this Easter weekend to prevent a new spike of COVID-19 on the border.
“The Mexican government urges (its citizens) to avoid unnecessary international travel during the Easter vacation period,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry tweeted. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and to avoid a new spike in the number of infections and deaths, it’s essential to avoid crowds and non-essential travel.”
The U.S., Mexico and Canada in March 2020 agreed to restrict non-essential cross-border travel. On the U.S.-Mexico border, it has resulted in most Mexican residents not being allowed to cross into the United States with tourist visas, which has deprived U.S. merchants of many cross-border shoppers.
The restrictions were renewed last month through April 21.
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who venture into Mexico despite the rules are still being allowed to re-renter but often face long waits.
“Even with the ongoing travel restrictions, we expect large numbers of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to cross the border in the days ahead,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha said earlier this week.
CBP cautioned travelers to expect longer than normal wait times at U.S. ports of entry as the holiday approaches.
“Travelers should plan accordingly and build extra time into their trip,” the agency said in a news release.
CBP has an online tool to help motorists and pedestrians estimate wait times at international crossings. Be aware, though, the estimates are based on the distance from the Mexican toll booths to the U.S. inspection area – basically, the length of international bridges, in the case of Texas ports of entry.