Border crossings will be limited to essential travel

Traffic crosses the border  from San Luis, Ariz., to San Luis Rio Colorado, Son. The Sonora government is limiting travel into the state by U.S. residents for essential purposes, as part of measures to contain the pandemic.

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. – Residents of the Yuma area who plan to cross the border here this weekend could find themselves turned away unless they can show they are visiting for essential reasons.

Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich announced that the restriction is taking place in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 over the Fourth of July, a holiday that typically brings numerous visitors from the United States to beaches of El Golfo de Santa Clara and other communities on the Sea of Cortes.

In a news release, the governor said the state will be working with Mexico’s National Institute of Migration to establish “revision filters” at ports of entry into San Luis Rio Colorado and other Sonora cities on the Arizona border to screen U.S. residents crossing the border. Similar filters have been in place at border crossings into Mexicali, Baja California, for nearly a month.

“There is going to be filters at the border, in San Luis Rio Colorado as well as Nogales and Agua Prieta, on the border, to warn people that they can’t pass, unless they are coming for (a reason that is) essential,” Pavlovich said. The restriction, she added, will be applied “not just to (visitors to) the beaches, but to cities (in the state’s mountains). We all are going to be alert at this moment, to avoid having (people) come who only want to spend the weekend, to avoid placing a greater burden on ourselves (from COVID-19).”

Her announcement came two days after Sonora’s health minister, Enrique Clausen, said the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona prompted him to petition Mexico’s federal government to close ports of entry into Sonora border cities to all but essential traffic from the United States. Also this week, the city of San Luis Rio Colorado announced it was prohibiting vacationers traveling to El Golfo.

Neither Pavlovich nor other state officials made clear when the filters will be in place, nor whether they will remain after the Fourth of July weekend. However, the Mexican Consulate in Yuma announced Thursday that the filter would be in place through Sunday.

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