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13 Jan 2021 | 12:17 PM UTC

Mexico: Authorities extend land border closure with US until at least Feb. 21 due to COVID-19 activity /update 29

Mexico extends coronavirus disease-related land border closure with the US until at least Feb. 21.

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Mexican authorities have extended their country's existing land border closure with the US for all nonessential travel until at least Feb. 21 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The ban on recreational boat travel will also remain in effect. These measures have been in place since March 2020 under a mutual agreement between the two countries. Cargo transport between Mexico and the US is exempt. Officials in Mexico continue to advise residents to avoid all international travel.

With regard to domestic measures, Mexico employs a color-coded system to track disease activity at the state level and implement localized restrictions accordingly. Each state is assigned one of four coded levels based on local COVID-19 transmission; these levels range from "green" to "red" in order of increasing risk from the virus.

At the green level, authorities allow all businesses and activities to operate, while urging residents to maintain social distancing and to take enhanced health measures. In-person lessons in schools may also take place. As of Jan. 13, only the states of Campeche and Chiapas are at the green level.

At the yellow level, authorities allow nonessential businesses to operate with some capacity restrictions depending on the sector and/or regional government's specifications. Restaurants, personal care services, and lodging businesses may operate at 50-percent capacity. Cinemas, theaters, cultural facilities, malls, public parks, places of worship, and professional sports and gyms may operate at 35-percent capacity. As of Jan. 13, the states of Baja California Sur, Aguascalientes, Veracruz, and Quintana Roo are at this level.

At the orange level, authorities allow nonessential businesses to open with stricter capacity limits. Markets and supermarkets can operate at up to 75-percent capacity. Lodging businesses, restaurants, and personal care services can operate at 40-percent capacity outdoors and 30-percent indoors. Shopping malls, places of worship, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events are limited to 25-percent capacity. The following states are at the orange level: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Yucatan, and Zacatecas.

Only essential businesses and services may operate in states designated as being in the red category. Hotels are only available to critical workers, and occupancy is limited to 25 percent. Parks may open at 25-percent capacity. Residents are encouraged to remain inside their homes, except to perform essential tasks. Residents must wear protective face coverings whenever in public. As of Jan. 13, the Baja California, Guanajuato, Mexico City, State of Mexico, and Morelos are at the red level.

In parts of Mexico City, nonessential businesses, including restaurants and retail stores, must close at 1700. Restaurants may operate on a carryout basis only, and the sale of street food is prohibited. In addition, vehicular traffic through the Historic District of the city is heavily restricted, with a number of roads being closed. Residents are also urged to stay at home and wear facemasks in public.

Authorities could reimpose, tighten, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks. The color-coded classification of each jurisdiction is also subject to amendment at short notice, especially if confirmed cases significantly increase locally.

Advice

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national and regional health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources

WHO Coronavirus Knowledge Base

Mexico Department of Health - COVID-19 Updates

Mexico City Government - COVID-19 Updates

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