COVID-19: Updates On Crossing the Border
Updated on June 1st, 2020
After it was announced that the USA and Mexico would restrict non-essential travel between the two countries, many people were left wondering what exactly that meant. With the news changing by the hour, it can be hard to keep up with the most current information. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding crossing the USA – Mexico border.
What is “essential travel”?
According to the Department of Homeland Security, essential travel through land ports of entry and ferry terminals includes, but is not limited to:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
What is “non-essential travel”?
The Department of Homeland Security defines non-essential travel as individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).
How long will the restrictions on border travel last?
I am an American citizen returning from Mexico. Will I be abe to cross back into the United States?
Yes, American citizens returning to the US would be considered essential travel according to the Department of Homeland Security.
I plan to travel to Mexico. What can I expect when crossing the border southbound?
According to the Instituto Nacional de Migración, people entering Mexico may be subject to:
- A medical revision in which a laser will be used to measure your temperature
- An interview regarding your current state of health and the countries to which you have recently traveled
What’s going on in Baja?
As of June 1, 2020 Mexico has begun its phase “Nueva Normalidad” or the New Normal, allowing for a gradual, orderly and cautious reopening of the country. Every week, each region in Mexico will be assigned a color which will determine the level of permissible activity.
The colors are as follows:
- Red – Maximum Alert: Only essential activities are allowed. Essential activities include mining, construction, and auto manufacturing.
- Orange – High Alert: Essential activities are allowed and restricted non essential activities are allowed. Vulnerable workers require maximum precautions.
- Yellow – Intermediate: All economic activities are allowed and limited activities in public spaces.
- Green – Normal Daily Activities: Resumption of scholastic, social, and leisure activities
Below you can find some of the latest info on what measures select cities in the Baja California Peninsula are taking.
On March 26th, the mayor of Tijuana signed the Emergency Declaration of Sanitary Risks in which the city outlined steps to take in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All residents are encouraged to stay home and to avoid going out in public. Essential businesses are open, which include: hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics, financial services, markets, supermarkets, restaurants (take-out or delivery only), among others.
Inspection points have been set up in the entrances to Playas de Rosarito to ensure drivers are obeying the stay at home order. If they are found to be out for non-essential reasons, they are being directed to return home. The inspection points are in Ejido Plan Libertador, Popotla and the corredor 2000.
All beaches are closed in Playas de Rosarito and are being patrolled by authorities to ensure the closures are being respected.
On April 20th, the municipal government of Ensenada announced their initiative “Vamos Juntos” in which the city outlined measures to be taken in order to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As one of the measures, Ensenada’s mayor announced the city would block access in order to protect its citizens. Checkpoints have been set up across the city verifying that people have a reason to be entering. The only permissible reasons to enter Ensenada are for emergencies, medical appointments, transportation to essential workplaces, and to supply food and medicine.
People entering Ensenada may be asked to provide proof of domicile, such as a utility bill. The checkpoints are are set up in the following areas: El Sauzal de Rodríguez, Real del Castillo (Ojos Negros), Punta Colonet and San Quintín, as well as in la Ruta del Vino.
A curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am has also been implemented.
The measures were initially going to last until April 30th, however, they have been extended through the month of June.
Mexicali is following the guidelines set forth by the state and Mexican Federal Government.
Baja California Sur
On June 1st the following sectors may open: construction and mining as well as federal, state and municipal offices. It is still recommended to stay at home if possible. Only two people are allowed per vehicle, the passenger must ride in the backseat.
Loreto has begun its reopening plan. Private and public construction may resume as well as indispensable businesses for its operation. Municipal offices will also reopen. All other non-essential activities must continue to socially distance until at least June 15th.
La Paz Municipality
As of June 1st, only construction and mining operations are allowed to resume, as well as indispensable businesses for its operation. All other non-essential activities are prohibited until June, 15th.