Arizona business executive applauds end of travel limits between US, Mexico, Canada
PHOENIX – Arizona’s economic recovery from the pandemic will take another step forward when nonessential land travel between the United States and Mexico and Canada reopens in November.
“This is a huge deal for Arizona’s economy,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Danny Seiden told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday, a few hours after President Joe Biden’s administration said it was ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Arizona-Mexico Commission estimates that this type of travel nets Arizona about $6.8 million per day,” Seiden said.
Combined with Canadian spending in the state, that number could be closer to $10 million a day.
“It’s fantastic this is happening,” he said.
The new rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country.
By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.
“If you’re a [southern] border retailer or restaurant or hotel … all crossings are essential,” Seiden said, adding, “The whole entire state is a retail destination for people from both Mexico and Canada.”
Travelers entering America by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers’ discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.
Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.
“There was never any reason explaining … why you could fly over but you couldn’t foot travel and why Americans could cross and Mexicans could not,” Seiden said.
Mexico has not put in place any COVID-19 entry procedures for travelers. Canada allows entry of fully-vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as well as proof of a negative test conducted within 72 hours of entry to the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.