EL PASO, Texas -- U.S.-Mexico border restrictions are set to be extended until late December, the news agency Reuters reported on Wednesday evening citing officials with both governments.
That means the border will remain closed to non-essential travel until Dec. 21 at 11:59 p.m. at the earliest amid a coronavirus surge in each country.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a tweet that it had requested the extension.
“After reviewing developments regarding the spread of COVID-19 in both countries – and because various states are on orange (threat level) – Mexico proposed to the United States the extension by one month of non-essential land traffic in our common border,” the ministry said.
Essential travel includes individuals traveling for medical purposes, attending school or engaged in trade, like truck drivers, among others, according to officials.
The current restrictions, which have been in place since March 21, were due to expire on Saturday. However, the two countries have since routinely approved another 30-day extension every time expiration of the agreement nears.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters the agency would continue "to look at appropriate public health criteria for a future re-evaluation of existing restrictions”.
The restrictions have been particularly difficult for El Paso and Ciudad Juarez given the tight social and economic ties the two communities have.
Las restricciones se mantendrán en los mismos términos en que se han desarrollado desde su implementación el 21 de marzo.— Relaciones Exteriores (@SRE_mx) November 18, 2020
Ambos países coordinarán las medidas sanitarias en la región fronteriza que estarán vigentes hasta las 23:59 hrs. del 21 de diciembre de 2020.