WASHINGTON, DC — Travel restrictions across the U.S.-Mexico border have now been extended through at least June 21, according to Mexico's foreign minister who said the decision was made by the U.S. government.
The extension came as Mexican officials continued to express "hope" that those curbs could be removed over the summer. There was no immediate word from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The border crossing limitations for non-essential travel, which have been in place throughout the pandemic to help slow the spread of Covid-19, have now been extended for yet another month.
The closure was set to expire on May 21. However, the Mexican government tweeted Tuesday that it had been extended for another month.
Non-essential travel, defined by U.S. Homeland Security as "travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature," remains prohibited.
The border, however, will continue to be open for essential travel - which includes travel for trade and business.
Reuters on Tuesday quoted Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard as saying he hoped that border restrictions would be lifted before the summer ends.
Ebrard's office said discussions with the U.S. were ongoing to “relax border crossing restrictions beginning on June 22,” taking into account Covid vaccination rates in communities along the border of the two nations.
In general, the U.S. leads the world in vaccinations, with more than 46% of all Americans fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Mexico falls well behind the U.S. with roughly 11% of its population vaccinated.
Because of Covid concerns, El Paso County's top official has suggested the county may make vaccinations available to Mexican border-crossers when the curbs are lifted.