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Border reopens to vaccinated travelers kickstarting the economy

Nogales Port of Entry.jpg
Posted at 7:56 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 21:56:26-05

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — After more than a year and a half of the border being closed to non-essential travel, vaccinated travelers crossed into Nogales, Arizona.

Many crossed into the U.S. to shop and reunite with family.

Mary Lou and her family were among the crowd ready to kickstart the economy.

"I'm very happy," expressed Mary Lou about crossing into the U.S. “I wanted to finally shop.”

Visitors spending money is something the Santa Cruz-Nogales Chamber of Commerce said businesses needed. Staff estimated a 75% hit to revenue during the longest closure the border region has seen in history.

“A lot of businesses like I said had to shut down their operations and cut back staff. A lot of family-owned and operated businesses even had to put their own family members on temporary hold because there wasn’t enough revenue,” said Alexis Kramer-Ainza, Santa Cruz-Nogales Chamber of Commerce

Getting the economy going is also one of Customs and Border Protection’s goals.

“We’ve been working for the past couple of months to get this going again,” said Michael Humphries, Port Director of the Port of Nogales.

He reminds travelers entering Nogales to be prepared with proof of vaccination.

“In primary, they just have to declare that they are fully vaccinated—show their documents to enter the U.S.," he said.

With traffic increasing again, Humphries said officers won’t let their guard down.

He said it’s a small percentage of people that cross with bad intentions.

“98-99% of the people crossing through are hardworking, honest folks who just want to come here to buy stuff, to visit family, or to go and take advantage of vacation spots,” he said.

Merchants in Nogales said they expect to see more visitors this weekend with the Mexican Revolution holiday.