Residents of a Mexican border town used their cars to form a blockade to prevent Americans from entering over the July 4 weekend amid coronavirus fears.
The move came amid a coronavirus spike in neighbouring Arizona, prompting Sonoyta Mayor José Ramos Arzate to issue a statement Saturday “inviting US tourists not to visit Mexico.”
People from the US should only be allowed in “for essential activities, and for that reason, the checkpoint and inspection point a few meters from the Sonoyta-Lukeville AZ crossing will continue operating,” Ramos Arzate wrote.
But residents determined to keep Americans out organized a demonstration there Saturday in which they blocked drivers from crossing into Mexico.
The border crossing is considered the fastest route for Americans to reach the seaside resort of Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point.
Carlos Eduardo Chávez Jacquez, who helped organize the protest and runs a Facebook page titled “Sonoyta Unido Jamás Será Vencido,” or “United Sonoyta Will Never Be Defeated,” told Newsweek that demonstrators would block the crossing again Monday.
“Everywhere people are dying from COVID-19 because we weren’t ready for this,” he said. “Yes, I support tourism, I want people from all over the world to come to Mexico and see how pretty we are and enjoy the culture, but why during COVID-19 times?”
In Sonoyta, Chávez Jacquez said, limited investments have been made in the local health infrastructure, so opening up the area to tourists could have deadly consequences.