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The Biden administration will open the country’s land borders with Mexico and Canada in November to travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, lifting petty travel restrictions after more than 19 months.
Travel restrictions began in March 2020, except for people who want to shop or visit relatives in the United States, hurting businesses in border cities that rely on Mexican buyers.
A federal government statement Tuesday night said that starting in January, essential-purpose visiting individuals — such as students, business drivers, US citizens and health care providers — must begin showing evidence of vaccination.
“Cross-border travel creates important economic activity in our border communities and benefits our economy in general,” said Alejandro Mallorcas, Secretary of State for Homeland Security. “We are pleased to take steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”
Businesses and elected officials across borders welcomed the news, saying it will help businesses get back on track after being hit hard by the travel restriction epidemic. For more than a year, several residents and border officials have called on the Trump and Biden administrations to reopen tourist ports.
US Representative Veronica Escobar, DL El Paso, called the action “too late.”
“Eventually, residents of the El Paso Ciudad Juarez region will be able to safely communicate with their loved ones and revitalize our vibrant frontier economy,” said Escobar. and tweets Tuesday evening
El Paso CEO David Jerome said El Paso’s business depends on buyers from Ciudad Juárez. “He will help us,” he said.
The partial closure of the border “has hurt economically our border communities and prevented many from seeing their loved ones,” said Tony Gonzalez, US Representative, from San Antonio. “Opening our borders to legal travel is a potential step back to normal life.”
Cameron County Judge Eddie Tergueno Jr., the chief Texas-Mexico border officer elected by the Texas Frontier Coalition, a community of business leaders, said the travel restriction “caused untold harm to our local businesses, particularly retail, restaurants and hospitality.” “:
Steve Ahlenius, president and CEO of the McCullin Chamber of Commerce, said he’s excited about the news and hopes that vaccination evidence won’t remain on international bridges.
If we wait too long for people to cross the border for two or three hours, they will stop [people from coming]”It’s the same thing that happens when you go to the store, there’s a long queue to get out of it. You put your things down and say, ‘I’m leaving the store.'”
Last month, the federal government announced it was lifting air travel restrictions on vaccinated people from 33 countries, including China, India and much of Europe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the United States will accept travelers who have received WHO-approved vaccines, such as AstraZeneca, the most common vaccine in Canada.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to approve other vaccines, such as those manufactured in China and Russia. Millions of Mexicans have been vaccinated with these vaccines.