EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The United States Department of Homeland Security has once again decided to extend border crossing restrictions between the U.S. and Mexico.
The restrictions were first implemented in March 2020, in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. They've been renewed on a monthly basis since then. The restrictions will last until at least August 21.
The restrictions are for non-essential travel. It does not impact U.S. citizens' ability to cross into Mexico. People are allowed to cross the border for work, medical or educational purposes.
The restrictions have severely impacted businesses in El Paso which rely on Mexican shoppers to keep their doors open.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, who helped implement a program to vaccinate Juarez Maquiladora workers, had been hopeful that restrictions would end in July.
In DHS' written notice to extend the restrictions, the agency said:
"Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of Covid-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with Covid-19 between the United States and Mexico poses an ongoing “specific threat to human life or national interests.”
The agency did note that there were some positive developments on the vaccination front, but that it was still not adequate enough to remove restrictions.