NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — As the United States border opens up to all travelers, the city of Nogales, Arizona is looking forward to welcoming them back.
The influx of travelers from Nogales, Sonora in Mexico to Arizona is a key part of the city's economy. The pandemic closed the border for over a year and a half, which impacted cities like Nogales. Nogales-Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Olivia Ainza-Kramer said before the pandemic people crossed the border every day.
MORE ON THE BORDER REOPENING
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- US-Mexico border reopens for non-essential travel Monday
- Border reopens; local business owners looking forward to travelers
"I guess the border communities were mostly effected because we live from each other," Ainza-Kramer said. "We visit, we buy we consume, everything is being done through both cities."
Less than a block away from the port of entry, Moqah Cafe owner Fransico Ruiz is busy, running from the griddle to the coffee pot. The dimly lit coffee shop is decorated with posters and music albums from the 1990s. In the corner of the shop near the entrance, the blackboard menu stands tall taking up the shop's wall. Next to it, a single guitar and microphone wait for the evening crowd's open mic night.
Ruiz said this is the kind of flavor that he hopes to bring to the iconic Morley Avenue in the form of a new shop.
“It was so full of life back in the day and that’s one of my goals: to return it to it’s former glory," Ruiz said.
A key part of Nogales' economy is those that come to shop from across the border. Ruiz said people miss this place and is looking forward to packing his shop and sharing his food with even more people.
“We are waiting for people to come in from over there and make a change in the business," he said.
Mayor Arturo Garino said he and his team will help the businesses in any way they can. He says they have incentives and fee waivers for owners. Ainza-Kramer said the businesses are getting ready with the sales and coupons as well as staff.
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