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Sonora closes border to non-essential travelers starting July 4

Mexican authorities in the state of Sonora are closing the U.S.-Mexico border to non-essential travel starting with the July 4 weekend to avoid further spread of COVID-19 amid increasing cases on both sides.

Starting Saturday, July 4, U.S. travelers without essential business in Sonora will be turned away at the border checkpoints in Nogales, Agua Prieta and San Luis Rio Colorado, said Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich in a press release.

Some travelers at the Sonoyta/Lukeville border crossing will be allowed to head south to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), but only if they have proof of a confirmed reservation at a hotel that has certified COVID-19 protocols.

Citing surging COVID-19 cases in Arizona, Pavlovich said the closure aims to stop tourists from spreading the novel coronavirus in the state of Sonora, just south of Arizona, where the number of cases is growing.

“We are all going to be on alert at this time to prevent them from coming, whether they are Mexicans living in the U.S., Americans or those who want to come to spend the weekend and put a greater burden on us regarding COVID,” Pavlovich said.

Pavlochi alerteds travelers that Sonoran beaches, especially in San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco, will be off-limits.

Travelers will be allowed to cross for essential activities, such as commerce, work activities or acquisition of medicine and health services, according to Pavlochi.

Pavlochi did not specify an end date for the border closure.

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The decision comes days after Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared Sonora and Baja California “alert zones” during a press conference due to the growing number of hospitalized patients. Obrador assured the citizens of Mexico that work is being done to bring the numbers down.

In Sonora, there are more than 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. State health officials have warned that hospitals have already reached their capacity and fear the uncontrolled outbreak in Arizona could further overwhelm the state.

On Friday alone, Arizona recorded 4,433 new cases of COVID-19. Arizona now has 91,858 total confirmed cases, state health data say; an alarming increase since the stay-at-home order expired and the state’s reopening. More than 1,750 Arizonans have died from the coronavirus.

On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order reclosing bars, movie theaters, gymnasiums, and other businesses, to slow the spread of the virus. Ducey is urging all Arizonans to stay home whenever possible and to wear a mask in public.

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1 comment on this story

Jul 4, 2020, 5:11 pm
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It’s funny how quickly a wall you’re told will keep you safe can become a wall that holds you in captivity.

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A crowded Nogales border crossing in 2007.